The Punjab Highway Patrol will be temporarily taking over the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway (LSM) as the province attempts to increase vigilance on the 91-km route and provide security to commutes, said a notification from the Central Police Office on Friday.
According to the notification, ever since the operationalisation of the LSM, it has remained unmanned both in terms of security and traffic management.
"Motorway Police has not taken over it so far," the notification read.
A mother of three was allegedly robbed and raped in front of her children after getting stranded on the motorway late Wednesday when her car ran out of fuel.
The police response was delayed over jurisdiction issues which allowed the criminals to commit the alleged crime and flee.
"In order to ensure the security of commuters, the IGP has directed PHP to deploy manpower on the 91-km stretch of LSM project," the notification said, adding that the mandate of the force deployed shall be restricted to the security of commuters and road users only.
The measure is a temporary arrangement until the National Highways and Motorways Police is deployed.
In an earlier development, officials said that at least 250 personnel from the Punjab police had been deployed on the route.
The Eastern Bypass, which was operationalised a year ago, connects M2 to N5 at Kala Shah Kaku Interchange.
Former Punjab police chief wrote a letter to the communications secretary in July asking him to issue directions for the deployment of Motorway Police on the Lahore-Sialkot section of the highway, Geo News had reported Friday.
Sources told Geo News that ex-IGP Shoaib Dastagir, in a July 28 letter to the ministry, had conveyed a lack of resources and asked the ministry to establish sub-offices for the employees of Motorway Police at Muridke and Saho Wala.
"Punjab Police lacks resources to man the highway," he said.
Earlier, Inspector-General National Highways and Motorway Police (NHMP) Dr Syed Kaleem Imam had said his institution cannot be held responsible in the Gujjarpura gang-rape incident as the area where the alleged assault took place does not yet fall under its jurisdiction.
“The area where the assault happened, near Link Road, is the Punjab police's jurisdiction,” IG Imam explained on Geo News programme "Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath" on Thursday.
“This is the Lahore-Sialkot section of the Motorway, constructed by the Frontier Works Organization (FWO)," he said, recalling that its soft opening was held in March.
He said the road is currently out of NHMP's jurisdiction and that Motorway Police will be deployed there once resources are made available.
He said NHMP is still in the process of calculating the financial costs of doing so, including hiring human resources and logistics equipment.
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