Tuesday November 28, 2023

Anti-riot force formed to tackle unruly protesters

By Our Correspondent
November 07, 2018

Days after protests erupted across the country against the Supreme Court’s decision to acquit Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent nine years on death row in a blasphemy case, the Karachi police has established its own anti-riot force.

Equipped with riot gear, the force will tackle unruly rallies and prevent unlawful protests from disrupting law and order in the city. Addressing the newly-formed force at a ceremony at Police Headquarters, Garden on Tuesday, Karachi Additional IG Dr Amir Shaikh said the unit with 350 officials will be unarmed, but would carry gear such as batons, riot helmets, masks, teargas shells to stop stone pelting and baton-charge in protests.

He added that the police department will soon increase the strength of the force to 1,000 cops. The force has been established at the zonal level and each zone will be headed by a zonal police chief deputy inspector general (DIG). Zones South and West have 100 personnel each and District East has 150.

The force can be deployed to deal with any emergency situation across the city and has been given special training on how to protect themselves and take action against those who take the law in their hands during protests and sit-ins.

“The riot force will only have sticks, rubber bullets, shelling and water cannons,” said the additional IG. “The force has been provided equipment for protection from stones and gas.” Similarly, Larkana Range has also formed its own anti-riot police force.

According to Larkana Range DIG Javed Akbar Riaz, the force will have 100 personnel to deal with protesters from all the five districts of Larkana. This is the first time that Karachi police will have its own anti-riot force. Earlier, the local operational police had been used to deal with protesters.

The city has witnessed scores of protests, sit-ins and demonstrations with each passing year. Recently, life in the metropolis was severely disrupted for three consecutive days following protests by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan over Asia’s acquittal. On Monday, the police claimed to have arrested seven miscreants and registered over 39 cases against the protesters for holding sit-ins and demonstrations across the province.