LAHORE - Over one hundred latest model elite police vehicles are permanently attached with “very important personalities” in Lahore, The Nation has learnt.

No less than 200 constable drivers and hundreds of elite police commandoes are deployed with the influential individuals to escort their convoys on city roads in addition to 103 latest model vehicles.

The move comes just two days after two dacoits shot and killed five people on offering resistance during a shop robbery attempt in Lahore’s Millat Park police precincts.

The beneficiaries include Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and their families. The other VIPs are Punjab IGP Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera, journalist Najam Sethi, family of ex-Governor, family of ex-PM Yousaf Raza Gilani, Imdad Ullah Bosal besides the Iranian, Chinese, and US consulates.

“At least 17 latest model vehicles of the elite police force are permanently attached with the prime minister and the chief minister to escort their families in Lahore,” a senior police officer said.

As per police record, eight vehicles of elite police force are permanently deployed at Raiwind Farm House of the prime minister, 11 are deployed at 96-H Block Model Town and three are deployed at 180-H Block Model Town. Two vehicles of elite police force are deployed at the IGP Office and the IB office in Lahore.

According to official sources, at least 67 vehicles of Lahore district, 24 vehicles from out districts and 12 vehicles from the IGP Reserve Force or Quick Response Teams deployed on such duties. Similarly, eight vehicles of elite police force are attached with the superior judiciary.

Three vehicles of elite police force are provided to DSP Elite, In-charge Elite and In-charge Monitoring. Some 15 vehicles are deployed at static points in Lahore that included Data Darbar, Kot Lakhpat Jail, anti-terrorism court, Lahore High court building, central police office, IB office, Aitchison College, Civil Secretariat, Chinese Consulate, and patrolling Qurban Police Lines.

Only, 12 vehicles are available for quick response teams which work in day and night shifts. However, there was not a single elite police vehicle available for general duty.

Last week, at least seven people were killed during two robbery attempts within a short span of time as police were nowhere to be seen. Nobody knows where the hundreds of police response units were at the time of the shooting. In addition to PRUs, there are hundreds of Dolphin squads who are supposed to chase the fleeing bandits. The dacoits shot six people and fled quite easily. Perhaps, the Dolphins were sailing somewhere in the sea rather than the streets.

A senior police officer who works at the central police office told this reporter on the condition of anonymity that almost the entire elite police force are deployed on the “security-cum-protocol” of the VVIPs and VIPs in Lahore.

According to him, the police department believes that the VVIPs and VIPs should be given priority with regard to deployment of security staff and vehicles. “This is our responsibility to protect the ruling elite first. If something happens to them, we will be held accountable. So, we have to keep our skin safe,” the officer said during an informal chat.

Since all the elite police vehicles are permanently attached with the VVIPs and VIPs, the police chief has directed his department to provide vehicles to the border posts from other districts.

Punjab inspector general of police Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera yesterday directed all the regional and district police officers to withdraw the vehicles of Riverine and inter-provincial check-posts from other districts within one week.

“Letters of displeasure should be issued to the DPOs who failed to return the vehicles within one week,” a police spokesperson quoted the police chief as telling a high level meeting held at the CPO yesterday. The IGP chaired the meeting while police officers including Sohail Khan, Capt. (retired) Arif Nawaz, Ghulam Mahmood Dogar, Salman Chaudhary, Agha Muhammad Yousuf and Waqar Abbasi, also attended the meeting besides others.

The IGP further directed his department to ensure regular inspection of police stations and headquarters. He also directed the officers to deploy technicians for the maintenance of the CCTV cameras and computers installed at inter-provincial check-posts. Also, the 24/7 centralised monitoring of all check-posts should be ensured from the Central Police Office.

Meanwhile, the police chief directed the AIG Logistics to provide weaponry, helmets, jackets, shields, CCTV cameras and binoculars to the Special Protection Unit without any delay.