Punjab Police: savior or VIP escort?

Dunya News

Taxpayers money and government resources being wasted on show of power.

The ordinary citizens of Pakistan have finally raised their voice against “VIP culture”, as we have witnessed this during recent events in Pakistan, which even led to Mr. Arjumand’s suspicious termination of employment at Gerry’s. What we see today is a reminiscence of Pakistan’s colonial past, which reinforced the distance between the rulers and those who were ruled. That was a time when the colonial rulers had entourages of gun powder, following them everywhere in flocks, because they feared rebellion at every corner of the street. This shows that that the VIP protocol culture was strengthened by those who feared the public.

On the other hand, we see the rise of extremism in Pakistan, and the growing need for security, but the real question is that such security is only available for the great rulers of Pakistan or the general public on whose tax money this police department survives. Clearly, we see that the Elite force and the Commando force, superior segments of the police department, are being used for VIP protocol instead of serving the public in emergency situations, and otherwise.

At this particular point in time, more than 34,000 security personnel from the Elite force and the Paramilitary force have been deployed for the security of politicians, bureaucrats, and other top brass police officials. Additionally, the police deployed for the security of many political leaders have become a burden on the revenue generated by population’s tax money. The rest of the Punjab police force is ill-equipped to handle matters of national security importance, and most of these officers are unfit due to their incessant inefficiency.

According to sources, within Punjab, paramilitary forces have been deployed for the security of important personalities, whereas more than 70% of the elite force commandos have also been deployed for the security of VIPs. As of now, most of the Elite force and the Punjab police commandos have been deployed for the security of Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif himself. Additionally, more than 240 elite rangers, and more than 1820 security personnel including high ranking officials till the rank of DIG, have been reserved for the PM’s personal security. The PM’s security entourage includes 1 DIG, 2 SPs, 7 DSPs,18 Inspectors, 22 sub inspectors, and more than 40 cars are constantly being used his personal security purposes, all throughout the day.

Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif’s security entourage includes 95 elite force commanders and more than 840 security personnel. For Nusrat Shahbaz’s security 11 security personnel have been deployed, whereas, the CM’s other wife, Tehmina Durrani is shielded by 11 elite force commanders, and 32 police personnel. 18 elite force commanders and 30 police personnel have been deployed at her Gulberg residence in Lahore. The Model Town residence is fiercely guarded by a heavy deployment of security personnel as well. Elite force commandos and government cars are being used to guard the CM’s sons and son-in-law since 2008.

Even those people, who are not in power or have retired from key posts, still use the taxpayer’s money for their security. This includes the great names of Chaudhry Shujaat, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former chief justice LHC Khawaja Muhammad Sharif. Then there is also the need to take into account the heavy security detail of the American Consulate. All in all, these figures add up to hundreds of security personnel and government cars, which are being used for the abovementioned seemingly important personalities’ security.

The police officials then also use a heavy security detail, which can go up to any number in different cases according to any given rank. CCPO Lahore gets 10 security personnel and 1 car, IG Punjab gets 2 cars and 10 officers, whereas SSP headquarters is also protected by a number of policemen. DIG operations and DIG investigations have been given a separate security detail for their offices and homes.

The whole system is to be held responsible for such a waste of money as well as resources because every one of them is using the taxpayer’s money for their personal security, and the public is out there vulnerable to the atrocities of militants and criminals. The police force is already ill-equipped and inefficient. The few handpicked well-trained personnel who are trained in the art of combating difficult situations have been positioned for the security of politicians and officials. The question remains that when will we see police reforms and a reduction in number of personnel deployed for VIP protocol.