Islamabad : The capital of Islamic Democratic Republic of Pakistan – has long become a hotspot for our political and religio-political parties to stage long marches, sit-ins, protests and demonstrations, every now and then, in order to polish their politics on different issues.
It is a known fact that the capital of any country is an extremely sensitive area, needing perfect peace and law and order. But neglecting this important fact, our political and religio-political parties have invented an extremely negative and highly damaging trend of staging long marches on the capital to browbeat the central government into accepting their demands no matter how illegal, unlawful and unjustified these are.
Taking their cue from these mainstream parties, some hard-line religious groups too have started blocking main roads and highways to press the federal government into accepting their mostly unjustified demands.
It is widely believed in Pakistan that a crowd of 2,500 to 3,000 can hijack the entire capital anytime exposing its residents and those of the neighboring Rawalpindi city to a myriad of problems and robbing them of their right to a peaceful life.
Not only the twin cities’ residents, but also those coming to Islamabad from different parts of country have to face an extremely ugly situation during such cases.
In such situations, a whole can of worms opens up leading to closure of educational institutions and small or big trade and business centers, suspension of freight services, death of patients in ambulances for want of timely medical assistance and an untold number of problems.
In a nutshell, the entire capital virtually turns upside down bringing us a bad name in the eyes of international community.
We all know, especially those leading the mainstream parties commanding massive influence among the electorate that Pakistan has been in a state of war with militants and terrorists since 9/11.
The ongoing war, which is of course not ours, has thrown a gigantic challenge to our armed forces and paramilitaries to defend the eastern and western borders.
Internally, the civil and military intelligence agencies and law enforcement departments, including the police, have been working overtime in close coordination to outmaneuver the conspiracies of a well-coordinated strong network of intelligence agencies.
Among the law enforcement agencies, the police’s role is manifold, as they’re the main agency that has to directly liaise with the public, maintain law and order, fight crime, regulate traffic, handle emergency situations, secure Parliament, Supreme Court and other important buildings, provide cover to the department’s top bosses, prime minister, president, lower and superior court judges, political leaders, VVIPs and foreign dignitaries to name but few.
It is because of these onerous tasks that the police often have to outstretch themselves to deliver. This outstretching leads to lack of sleep, fatigue, exhaustion, bickering etc which badly affects their overall performance.
As a result, their presence on the main roads and highways outside presence reduces considerably affecting their main task of fighting crime, maintaining law and order and regulating traffic.
In this scenario, the novel idea of IGP Islamabad Sultan Azam Temuri, which he gave during a cycle rally held in Islamabad on the International Volunteer Day, that the Islamabad police will benefit from the potential of the PRCS-trained volunteers is worth its weight in gold.
Pakistan is endowed in the sense that a major part of its population comprises young people packing vast reserves of energy, strength and stamina that hitherto has only been exploited scantily.
If only the police department takes practical measures to benefit from this formidable force then it can work wonders.
The volunteers’ roles may include registering complaints, facilitating complainants, regulating traffic during peak hours and emergency situations, mediating minor disputes at the police stations, assisting with search and rescue activities, doing neighborhood watch, bringing neighbors together to create strong, friendly communities etc.
The volunteers should be imparted proper training in different areas and issued an impressive uniform. They may be asked to volunteer for 15 to 20 hours a week in rotation.
The department should have the cell phone numbers of all the volunteers and other particulars so that they remain in touch with each other and can reach different spots when needed.
TV, Radio and FM stations, especially FM 92.4, may be used to educate the society about the benefits of volunteerism and asked to cooperate with and respect the volunteers who have dedicated themselves and their precious time to keep them out of trouble.
I am fully positive that the use of electronic media will promote the much-needed spirit of sacrifice and volunteerism that will ultimately contribute towards ensuring a society where not only the citizens and law enforcement agencies would respect each other, but also almost every citizen would love to volunteer for the society in one way or the other.
The writer is Principal Information Officer at the Pakistan Red Crescent of Society