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July 5, 2020

Rawalpindi police force gets a raw deal

Islamabad

July 5, 2020

Rawalpindi Policemen have been among the frontline coronavirus pandemic warriors. They remain on the frontlines, manning high risk spots. They are fighting with just face masks and sanitizers sans hand gloves. Ill-equipped and ill-trained to handle a biological crisis, Rawalpindi policemen were tasked with preventing the movement of people in the city besides maintaining law and order.

“With the police leadership allegedly doing little to brief, train and sensitize the Rawalpindi police force on various aspects of the virus and containment procedures, the policemen themselves became vulnerable to infection, having to enforce the SOPs with minimal safety and protective equipment,” says Kiran Zahra, herself a cop.

“Police personnel are overworked as they strive to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic. They should have been guided well to tackle the situation in a better way. Sadly, nobody taught them how to face the pandemic. They are warriors with limited resources; thus they are more vulnerable,” says a policeman’s wife, Enaam Naqvi.

Ghousia Shabbir, a police officer’s other half, says: “The policemen have fulfilled their duties to society and some have even died doing so. In this situation they need counselling and healing. This is an endless fight. What affects one’s mind also affects the body, thus many more may fall prey to this virus. Counselling for police personnel is a must during this long pandemic period.”

“Senior police officers agree that this situation is out of syllabus for them. There are lapses in the system. Basic needs like masks, hand-gloves and face-shields should have been provided immediately with proper sanitization guidance, but they were not given on time so policemen were exposed to people who had tested positive or remained in constant contact with people who can be asymptomatic to coronavirus pandemic,” says Rustam Raza, brother of a senior police officer.

“Thus, policemen were at high risk. Under the circumstances, it was next to impossible not to get infected. In fact, they have been walking that extra mile for people, endangering their own lives. Sadly, nobody taught them how to face the pandemic. They are warriors with limited resources; thus they are more vulnerable. The education wing of the City Traffic Police launched an awareness campaign about prevention of coronavirus much later just after mid of this month,” adds Rustam.

Syed Asrar Baqir, a policeman, says: “It was mission impossible for us generally trained to handle criminals and investigate crimes. Every policeman developed his own technique to fight against corona and manage law and order. That gloves need to be sanitized regularly and face-shield is a must was learnt on the field. Imagine the vulnerability to infection policemen have gone through. Dozens have tested positive. The infected amongst us are from the SP to constable rank.”