RAWALPINDI: Murree Tourism Police was on Saturday launchedto facilitate and protect tourists in the resort station on the instructions of the inspector general of police (IGP), Punjab.
Regional Police Officer (RPO) Rawalpindi Ashfaq Ahmad Khan and City Police Officer (CPO) Rawalpindi Omar Saeed Malik inaugurated the tourism police at Lower Topa.
The tourism police initially included 150 officers and personnel, a special tourist van, three specially prepared vehicles, 25 motorcycles and a horse riding squad.
Police officials said the tourism police was launched after the Murree tragedy of January 8, 2022. The police will initially be deployed at places in Murree where there is an unusual rush of tourists and snowfall creates difficulties for them.
In the next phase, the police would be stationed at tourist spots in Kotli Sattian.
Force initially includes 150 police officers, personnel
“Following the success of the pilot project, tourism police will also be launched in other tourist destinations of Punjab such as Katas Raj, Nankana and Fort Monroe,” said RPO Khan while addressing the function.
He said the basic aim of the tourism police was to facilitate tourists and protect them.
Speaking on the occasion, CPO Malik said the tourism police had been launched for the convenience of tourists.
He said safety and convenience of tourists was top priority of the Rawalpindi police and the tourism police would perform duties round the clock.
In case of an emergency, the tourism police could be approached through its helpline of 1757, he said.
“A campaign will also be launched for awareness and guidance of tourists. Implementation of the SOPs will be ensured in all cases to ensure smooth flow of traffic during holidays,” he said.
Police officers, local administration officers, bar officials, civil society and mediapersons attended the inauguration of the tourism police.
SP Kohsar Haider Ali and SHOs of Murree, Patriata and Pahguari were awarded certificates of appreciation for their outstanding performance in setting up the tourist force.
After the Murree tragedy when 22 people died in vehicles trapped in snow, an investigation committee recommended formation of the tourism force to protect and facilitate the tourists.
It recommended that a joint management committee under the co-convenorship of the deputy commissioner and station commander, Pakistan Army, may be set up for Murree to implement upgradation and master plan. Safe city infrastructure may also be established in Murree.
However, the former government failed to implement the recommendations about the Safe City infrastructure in Murree.
A senior official of the district administration said the newly-formed government under the leadership of Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz would soon launch a new project to install security cameras on all the main roads of the hill station.
Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2022