LAHORE - The Punjab police department on Saturday announced more than 4000 vacancies of Constable in the Specialised Protection Unit (SPU), a unique and highly-trained force to provide security cover to the foreigners, particularly the Chinese.

“At least 4076 constables will be recruited in the Punjab Police’s Specialised Protection Unit (SPU) with the purpose to provide foolproof security to the foreign experts working on various government projects in the province,” a police spokesperson confirmed on Saturday.

These vacancies are being advertised in the national dailies during the next couple of days, the spokesperson added. According to official sources, at least 918 posts will be advertised for Lahore region, 245 for Sheikhupura region, 546 for Rawalpindi, 227 for Sargodha, 170 for Sahiwal, 350 for Multan, 274 for DG Khan, 266 for Bahawalpur and 471 constables will be recruited for Faisalabad police region. These constables will be recruited in pay scale 5 and five percent quota has been fixed for minorities and 10 percent for retired army personnel.

After proper professional training, these constables would be deployed at development project sites to provide security to the foreign experts.

Hundreds of Chinese nationals are working on various development projects across Punjab. Since China has pledged over $40 billion investment, which is being seen by economists as a “milestone in the history of Pak-China relations”, more Chinese are expected to arrive in the energy-hungry country to share their expertise.

Therefore, the authorities are establishing a well-equipped and highly-trained special unit to provide protection to the foreign experts, an official explained.

This Specialised Protection Unit (SPU) of the provincial police had been formed to protect foreigners working in the province. The project was expected to be fully functional by June 30 but financial constraints and bureaucratic mess delayed the progress, official source believe.

The government had decided to form a new unit to ensure foreigners’ security in March2014. The initiative has been taken after proper working since many foreign experts were reluctant to work on the development projects citing security concerns. The SPU will provide foolproof security to foreign engineers and technicians working on projects across the province.

According to officials, this is the responsibility of the state to provide best security to win the confidence of foreign companies, encouraging them to invest in Pakistan.

At present, hundreds of police commandoes are deployed at Nandipur Power Plant, Iron Ore Plant Chiniot, Jinnah Barrage near Mianwali and at Quaid-i-Azam Solar Plant in Bahawalpur. The SPU headquarters are being established at Farooqabad Police Lines.

According to the proposed plan, the SPU will be headed by a police officer of the rank of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) with two SSPs, and four SPs. Once the recruitment and training is completed for the unit, it will be made independent from the district police.

The SPU officials would be provided Elite Police Force training and their salaries would be equal to those of the EPF personnel. “SPU staff will not be transferred to other branches,” police sources said.

A senior police officer said that the SPU was expected to take over the security of almost all development projects where foreigners are working. The provincial government had allocated Rs1.2 billion for procurement of automatic weapons, vehicles, wireless sets, night vision goggles and other modern security gadgets for the force to make it operational.