MIRPUR: A Special Protection Unit will be set up in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) soon exclusively for the safety and security of the foreigners engaged in the ongoing and forthcoming mega development projects in power generation and other sectors including those being launched under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
This was disclosed by Inspector General of Police (IGP) AJK Shoaib Dastgeer while talking to a group of journalists here on Saturday. He was flanked by Mirpur Division police chief, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Rashid Naeem, Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Mirpur Riaz Hussain Bukhari and other senior police officers.
Shoaib Dastgeer said the government of Pakistan has accorded formal approval for creation of the uniformed Special Protection Unit in AJK comprising at least 800 seasoned and trained security men, in three phases at the initial stage, to be hired on contract basis in the AJK Police for the security of the foreigners, including engineers and other staff engaged in CPEC and non-CPEC projects, including the forthcoming Kohala Hydel Power Project in Muzaffarabad district as well as ongoing Gulpur, Bong and other hydel power generation projects, he added.
Responding to questions about reinforcement of the police force in AJK, the police chief said that lot of steps were being taken in this direction. He stated that at present only 5 percent of the budget allocated for the AJK Police was being utilised for operational expenditures -- whereas rest of 95 percent of the allocated budget goes in form of the salaries of the employees. He continued that the AJK government and the AJK Council has issued a special grant of Rs10 million for the repair of at least 25 police building projects across the region as well as for the petrol/diesel of the police vans fleet. Besides, he said, Rs7 million fund was secured for improvement of performance of investigation and test/laboratory wings of the AJK Police.
Shoaib Dastgeer said that existing weapons will be replaced with the latest arms in the wake of the measures to make AJK Police well equipped and armed in line with the modern needs. He underlined that the government has released grant of Rs3 million for purchase of latest ammunition for the force. He underlined that all the utensils for the force including machinery, uniform, shoes etc. would now be purchased in the future after getting checked and approved by the labs to ensure their required quality.
To a question, the police chief said the existing over 8,300 AJK Police force was being added with three to four hundred new recruits including cops and ASIs through direct recruitment process. He emphasised the need of the existence of Anti-Terrorism Force Unit in AJK Police. He underlined that the matter will be taken up with the central government by the AJK government.
“We should always remain alert with professional preparedness to deal with any eventuality,” he said.