LAHORE - The police department has proposed a new legislation to provide legal cover to the working of the newly launched anti-riot units in Lahore.

The Punjab Anti-Riot Force Act 2017 will help the department provide legal indemnity to the acts of the ARF and local police. The department has sent a summary to the provincial government in this regard.

According to a letter recently issued from the office of the Lahore DIG Operations, “It is requested that existing laws given above are not sufficient enough to provide indemnity to the working of the anti-riot force and local police.”

“Hence, it is need of the hour that a specialised legal enactment (Anti-Riot Force Act 2017) may kindly be proposed to the quarters concerned for the better working and legal protection of acts committed by the ARF or local police in good faith.”

The summary says, “Lahore Police recently established a Specialised Unit of Police to control and regulate any law and order situation. The Anti-Riot Force has been created in collaboration with the Turkish police. The entire force has already been trained by Turkish police officers as well as master trainers who were given training by Turkey.”

“Since Lahore is a mega district of Punjab province, it faces numerous protests and law and order issues. Therefore, the new legislation will help provide legal cover and protection to this force in case they take action against the agitators.”

In March, the Anti-Riot Force was introduced in Lahore to effectively and exclusively control violent protests. Keeping in mind the bitter experience of Model Town, the provincial government had decided to develop a full-fledged anti-riot unit to deal with political activists.

Officials of the new unit would be equipped with riot gear to help protect themselves and attack the miscreants. “Instead of official guns and pistols, the anti-riot unit is equipped with personal armor, batons, riot shields, riot helmets and less-than-lethal weapons such as teargas and rifles that fire rubber bullets,” said Haider Ashraf, who leads police operations in Lahore.

Establishment of the ARF was part of the latest schemes to improve the police working and build capacity of policemen. Dolphin police force and Police Response Units have also been launched in Lahore as part of the modern policing initiatives.