LAHORE  - The Punjab government has created a new vacancy of deputy inspector general police for the security of foreigners, The Nation has learnt.

Sources in the Punjab government said the new DIG (foreigners’ security) will head a special force being formed.

The Punjab chief minister announced a couple of months ago that since foreign investment was essential for the uplift of the country, and that China, Turkey and other countries were extending cooperation for the development of energy, infrastructure and other sectors in the Punjab, it was responsibility of the provincial government to provide security cover to the foreigners working on various projects. He had also announced setting up a special force for the purpose.

A couple of days back, the Home Department forwarded a summary, seeking approval for the post, to CM Shahbaz Sharif who approved it accordingly. The inspector general police had initiated the file seeking formation of a separate squad. He had also stated that 100 vehicles, 200 drivers and other clerical staff would have to be recruited for the security of the citizens of other countries working on projects in Pakistan.

A huge sum of Rs 500 million will be required for salaries and other expenses, the note had said. The Home Department, the sources said, had agreed to recruit 100 drivers besides purchasing double-cabin vehicles for the new squad while the funds would be allocated in the coming fiscal year.

Sources revealed 482 foreigners from different countries had been working on power projects. They added 216 US nationals, 13 British, 176 Chinese, 60 Iranians, 78 Turkish and 80 from other countries had been working on different development and energy projects.

An officer said foreign investment was essential for progress, so the government decided to form a new squad to ensure foreigners’ security in the province as the country was facing severe terrorism threats. It was the responsibility of the government to provide foolproof security to the foreigners working in the province, he said. Engineers from different countries were reluctant to work on the projects, so the pace of work on certain power projects remained much slow, the officer remarked. The government had to pay additional funds for different projects that faced delay for security reasons, he held. He said special constables might also be recruited for the purpose.

It is to be recalled that Dr Warren Weinstein, an American national and USAID contractor working for JE Austen, was kidnapped in 2011. Moreover, on February 19, 2012, two foreign nationals, one German and the other Italian working for an NGO, were kidnapped by some banned outfits from Multan, a southern city of Punjab, and their whereabouts are still unknown.