New anti-riot police for Islamabad

Islamabad-On directives of the IGP Islamabad Sultan Azam Taimuri, a 586-personnel strong anti-riot force is presently being trained at the Police Lines with an aim to control situation during protests and demonstrations, official sources said.

The news came in as the Interior Minister formally approved raising anti-riots unit in Islamabad police comprising 2,000 personnel to deal with protests and sit-ins in future.

Recruitment for the force would be made in two phases and 1,000 personnel would be inducted in the first phase of recruitment, said official sources on Monday, though announcement to this effect had also been made nearly a couple of years back by the then interior minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan.

However, this time around, the newly-appointed IGP Islamabad Sultan Azam Temuri did not wait for the recruitment process to be officially launched, rather directed for training 586 police personnel immediately for the purpose, reflecting urgency of the matter. The training of the police personnel has already started at the police lines headquarters.

After a number of failures to counter agitations during the last decade, Faizabad sit-in was the latest of which, the quarters concerned realised the need to raise a specialised anti-riot unit in the capital police.

Following the protests by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek in 2014, the authorities decided to raise a properly-trained and equipped anti-riot unit.

Former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar in March 2015 first announced raising the specialised unit. The law-enforcement agencies had been asked to set up the unit on the pattern of those in place in European countries and the US. The ministry had approved hiring of 2,000 personnel for the unit and the police were asked to complete the paperwork including recruitment process, acquisition of equipment and vehicles for the unit. Recently, the Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal formally approved the plan.

Trainers of Punjab police have already started training the police personnel including a contingent of lady police. They would be provided with latest anti-riot kits and other equipments, the sources said.

The capital witnessed so many sit-ins and protests during the recent past including the pro-judiciary movement in 2007, protest against the blasphemous film released in the US in 2012 and PTI and PAT sit-ins in 2014. The protests badly exposed police ability to tackle the same. The capital police even could not properly use the available resources and sometimes their personnel became victim of the teargas themselves.

The Faizabad sit-in staged by activists of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah in November 2017 further necessitated setting up of the force. The unit would be trained for use of baton charge, tear gas and rubber bullets against a mob, the sources said.

After failed police action at Faizabad, Islamabad police detailed reasons for failure of the operation in a report submitted in the Supreme Court. The report stated that the law enforcement agencies could not achieve the objectives as TLYR protesters provoked their religious sentiments.

“Religious sentiments of the men deployed for operation were provoked by the protesters through their speeches, thus making them a hurdle in effective utilisation of men,” the report stated. The report further said, “Police force was fatigued due to prolonged deployment. Mixed deployment of different forces, FC and Rangers, also had negative effects on productivity.”




ISLAMABAD: IGP Islamabad Sultan Azam Taimuri addressing personnel of the newly-raised anti-riot police unit.



ISLAMABAD: A contingent of the newly-formed anti-riot police unit standing alert during a training session at the Police Lines.

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