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- Wednesday, August 01, 2012 - From Print Edition


Officials trained in countering terrorism assigned to protect VVIPs


PESHAWAR: The Elite Police Force is specially trained for promptly striking specific targets, mostly terrorists or hardened criminals, but its officials are made to perform functions that fail to utilise their out-of-ordinary skills.


The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police authorities recently banned deployment of the Elite Police Force commandoes for ordinary duties, including deployment as security guards for the VVIPs.However, still a number of Elite Police Force commandoes are guarding VVIPs and performing other ordinary duties.


When the terrorist attacks on the police in Khyber Pakhtun-khwa were at its peak in 2009, the government decided to raise a force of commandoes that could better counter terrorism in the province and let the regular police perform routine duty.


The Elite Police Force is presently an over 4,000-strong wing of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police that is performing duties in the troubled parts of the province to counter terrorist attacks and carry out operations against the militants, independently and along with army and other security forces.


Apart from an additional inspector general looking after the affairs of Elite Police Force, an officer of the rank of deputy inspector general rank heads the force as commandant. Superintendents of police, deputy superintendents of police as well as inspectors, sub-inspectors and assistant sub inspectors are transferred from the regular police to the Elite Police Force.


The formation of the force was approved in 2009 by Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti, with directives to establish an Elite Police Training School at a suitable place in the province. The school would be put into operation in Nowshera next year. The first two batches of around 1,543 commandoes passed out from army training centres in Mardan and Karachi.


The eighth batch of the Elite Police Force comprising 462 people passed out in the last week of June from an army training centre in Mansar, Attock.Elite Police Force was established in Punjab in 1997-98 on the directives of chief minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, to have a force of trained commandoes who can better operate in case of terrorism, sectarian violence, hijacking, car-jacking and other forms of violence.


An Elite Police Training School in Lahore was established in 1997 under the command of a serving Lieutenant Colonel of the Special Services Group (SSG) of Pakistan Army where basic elite courses, advanced instructors courses and VVIP protection courses are taught to those coming for training from all over the country.