KARACHI: Pakistan is in a state of war. We are fighting against terrorism with national unity and valor.

The performance of police department, especially the special branch and counter terrorism department is worth mentioning; therefore their revamping is need of hour to make them more effective and strong. Presently, manual system of reporting exists in the branch; there is absence of central data bank, poorly maintained manual record keeping, large inventory of dysfunctional security equipment, in effective canine unit, lack of specialized intelligence training facilities and depleted office infrastructure/equipments.

Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said this while presiding over a meeting regarding revamping and strengthening Special Branch and Counter Terrorism department here at the CM House Friday.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, Nisar Khuhro, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Sohail Siyal, Murtaza Wahab, IG Ghulam Hyder Jamali, Home Secretary Jamal Mustafa Shah, Secretary Finance Sohail Rajput and others.

Additional IG Special Branch Ad Khwaja said that the functions of Special Branch include intelligence, surveillance, security, verification of government officials, security companies, pre-visa verifications of Indian, airport entry passes, security audit, foreigners’ registration and technical assistance and bomb disposal.

Talking about major areas of revamping plan, the Additional IG said that automation, automation of foreigners' registration section, up-gradation of bomb disposal unit, up-gradation of Canine unit, establishment of intelligence school and improvement of infrastructure.

AD Khwaja said that under his automation plan, there would be a centralized data base at headquarters and all field units to be connected with it and there would be online sharing of information, reporting and digital archiving of data.

On a query of the chief minister, Khwaja said that 40 data entry operators were required to run the proposed network with one network engineer/administrator. "The positions were vacant in special branch but the nomenclature of the positions/posts is to be changed," he said. The chief minister approved the proposal.

He also said that revamping of Foreigners Registration Section (FRS) and automation of registration process was need of the hour. All the district offices are to be connected with the headquarters. On this the chief minister said that he has already directed the IGP to provide Rs10 million to Special Branch for the purpose.

Briefing the meeting on Bomb Disposal Unit, AD Khwaja said that its main job was to indentify, detect, diffuse and safely dispose of explosives. This unit also conducts technical sweeping and gives expert report regarding bomb blasts and seized explosives."Therefore, we have to purchase new purchase of art equipments, provision of additional equipments to the unit atHyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas and Larkana and up-gradation of the bomb disposal unit's store and creation of post blast investigation unit.

He said that Rs.20 million were required for the Bomb Disposal Unit revamping. The chief minister directed the home department to move a summary for re-appropriation of funds so that BDU could be revamped on the latest pattern.

The CM Syed Qaim Ali Shah asked the Additional IG about the usage of bomb disposal equipments, bomb disposal vehicles donated by USA and UK to Sindh police . The Additional IG Khwaja said that those vehicles and equipment have been taken over by Ministry of Interior. On this the chief minister showed surprise and asked Senior Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to take up the issue with the ministry of interior and get the equipments and vehicles released. 

Briefing the CM on upgradation of Canine unit, Khwaja said that its assists Bomb Disposal Teams, sweeping/searching of places of visit of VVIPs/VIPs and events of national importance. "This unit was established in 2010 with 14 dogs but presently only six dogs are available and this does not suffice the need," he said and added that 20 additional dogs were required.

He said that the dogs would be purchased from Pakistan Army Dog Centre. For the purpose trained staff was required. "We also want to establish training facility and breeding centre for the police department," he said. The chief minister approved the project and directed the IG Ghulam Hyder Jamali to establish Canine Unit at every divisional headquarter. "You move a summary I would provide you necessary staff and funds," he said.  

The Additional IG also proposed to establish a School of Intelligence.

This school would be great importance for training modules on intelligence gathering and covert operations will be imparted on the basis of modern techniques, he said.

The CM while approving the project in the next budget said that close coordination with Army Intelligence facilities and training academy of Intelligence bureau be established.

Additional IG Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Dr Sanaullah Abbasi briefing the chief minister said that the mandate of his department was to collect intelligence about terrorism, sectarian activists and such other people, organisations and extend technical support for special operations and investigations, conduct research and analysis of the terrorism trends  and so on and prosecute terrorism case.

He said that cases of bomb blasts, terrorism, suicide bombing, target killings connected with terrorism, tracing of terrorism financing and action against criminal network s of terrorist organisations for kidnapping for ransom, extortion and sabotages are also part of their mandate.

Giving a Rs1.88 billion revamping plan, Dr Sanaullah Abbasi said that the CTD would be made more effective organisation if it was allowed to create dedicated counter-terrorism force of 1000 personnel.

He also proposed to purchase latest equipments such as GSM locators, armored troops carrier, ballistic sheets, and bullet proof vests. "I want to conduct their periodic training and capacity building by giving them cash awards for extraordinary performances, he added.

The CM approved the plan.