LAHORE - The Punjab government has decided to revive the Elite Force besides repatriating the misfit army officials deputed in the force and establishing a Special Group in it through fresh recruitments, it was learnt Wednesday.

Both the Home Department and Finance Department will prepare an estimate of expenses for purchasing new vehicles and revival of force, their salaries etc.

Official documents revealed that it was decided at a high level meeting. The Inspector General Police Punjab will write a letter along with a list of such officials who were not fit for the Elite Force and the parent department would be requested to replace them with more active and energetic personnel. Elite Force, already well-trained well-equipped with modern weapon and equipments needed more personnel, vehicles and scanners that it lacked to counter terrorists.

Besides purchasing more vehicles for the force, it also wanted some new mobile X-Ray scanner vans also being used in foreign countries that could easily scan the complete vehicle let alone its luggage. But, the committee deferred the matter of purchasing such vehicle scanners till the concerned quarters prepare and present a comprehensive presentation on the subject. After, the nod of the committee, the issue of purchasing all such machinery would be forwarded to the Chief Ministry, the ultimate authority; the sources further told this paper.

A Special Elite Group will also be established comprising 2,000 officials recruiting 200 men from each region, it was further learnt. A major rank officer of the SS Group will support the DIG concerned in this regard.

Moreover, an officer of the Punjab government told the Special Protection Unit (SPU) established for the security of Chinese citizens including workforce and the engineers would be upgraded. New recruitments from each district would be made in the SPU. The purpose to expand the SPU, the officer said, was to get rid of the private security guards hired by the government from private security agencies including Askari Guards etc. He said that the government had hired the services of such guards as it lacked personnel in the security forces to protect the foreigners. He said that the government was serious to raise the SPU on the intelligence reports that RAW could dismantle crucial for the country multi-billion Pakistan-China Economic Corridor projects. The said agency could influence their cronies create conflict among the investment pitch in Pakistan like it did in case of much needed Kalabagh Dam Project.

It is relevant to mention here that the government of Pakistan has already approved for assigning a division of Pakistan Army's special security for the protection of Chinese citizens working in Pakistan as Beijing and Islamabad are working on a $45 billion economic corridor including 3,000 kilometres from Kashgar to Gwadar.

This division will protect Chinese engineers, project directors, and workers working on various Chinese funded projects across the country.

Another officer conditioning anonymity said it was common concept among the people that the Elite Force was being used only to protect the elite class let alone terrorism activities and increased militancy. Now, the force was being overhauled on the reports that the Elite Force commandos meant to protect lives of the citizens against terrorists was deputed on the security of the VVIPs or on protocol duties. A good number of the personnel had been posted on the security of the ruling families, former judges, advisers and other dignitaries. He said that such move badly affected the work standards of the force. He was of the view that the purpose built force must be used to protect citizenry against the surge of terrorism shunning their VIP duties.