KARACHI: The Sindh police have decided to set up a special unit for security of places of worship belonging to minority communities across the province with round-the-clock presence of armed personnel, it emerged on Sunday.

The fresh development of raising the new unit — the Special Protection Force for Minorities — by the Sindh police took place in line with recent measures adopted by the security administration to strengthen the police force in terms of numbers, dedicated wings of different law enforcement related jobs and fill the gaps in certain areas of regular policing.

“The decision has already been approved by relevant authorities and process of fresh recruitment for the new unit has already begun,” said a senior official. “The sanctioned strength of the force is around 5,000 and in the first phase some 2,800 personnel are being recruited from Karachi Range.”

For the 5,000-strong force, 2,800 personnel are being recruited from Karachi

Giving details about the new force, the official said that it would be responsible for security of churches, temples and gurdwaras across the province. “The detailed mechanism of its operation and duties are being further designed but primarily it will be responsible for the security of worship places of minority communities,” he added.

Massive recruitment under way

The new unit of the police would be led by an officer not below the rank of SSP and currently fresh recruitments were being made on posts from constable to inspector.

The applications, he said, had already been invited and thousands of youngsters had applied for 2,800 openings in different categories.

“The process will take a month or two. We hope the force would become operational within next three to four months,” added the official.

The Sindh police are already in the process of inducting more than 10,000 men and women with major chunk of recruitment from Karachi youth having city domicile in one of its massive recruitment drives announced after years.

In an announcement last month, the law enforcement agency allocated certain number of seats for every category ranging from disabled persons to people belonging to the transgender community and members of minorities.

The police have notified 10,490 vacancies with 6,655 alone for Karachi Range.

With a new dedicated unit in place, many security experts believe the Sindh police would not have any excuse for being short of strength when it comes to providing security to places of worship of minority communities.

“The reason to set up a dedicated force for minorities worship places is to separate the regular police force from this particular job,” said the official.

Not for notables

“The new unit would be responsible only for certain jobs and it will not be involved in any kind of other policing duties. However, it should be clear to everyone that this unit is responsible for security of worship places, not notable members of these communities,” the official said.

He explained that for police security of individuals for different reasons, there’s a defined procedure, which was being followed for every person or group.

He said that the Sindh police had already made provision for the new unit in its annual budget.

The unit, he added, would be equipped with all necessary gadgets and weapons required for this particular job.

With an increase of over Rs6 billion, the Sindh government had allocated Rs119.97bn in the head of law and order in its budget for fiscal year 2021-22 compared to Rs113.87bn allocated in the last fiscal year.

While aiming at adopting modern and international practices like DNA tests in the province, procurement of transport and arms and ammunition, budgetary allocations have already been made for fresh recruitments.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2022

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