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Punjab Elite Police: Counter-terrorism force or politician protector?

Updated Apr 24, 2014 11:46pm


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LAHORE: The Punjab government was dissolved on Wednesday, but the Sharif family continues to enjoy security provided by the province’s Elite Police, an institution meant to counter terrorism.

But it’s not just the Sharifs – members of the Punjab Elite Police Force are also working as security guards for politicians of both Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and Pakistan Peoples party (PPP).

Official data available to claims that out of the 963 elite police commandoes in Lahore, around 70 per cent have been deployed with VIPs to provide them security cover.

Of the remaining 333 elite commandoes who are not assigned to protect VIPs, most are on permanent leave or enrolled in training courses. This leaves a grand total of around 100 to protect the citizens of Lahore from terrorism.

On top of the force’s priority list is Nawaz Sharif, chief of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). The party head has around 100 commandoes and five special security vehicles at his disposal, around the clock.

According to a high-ranking police official, Nawaz is not entitled to this much security after the dissolution of the Punjab government. Technically, he should only have access to two security vehicles and a maximum of 12 police security personnel in the name of security.

Shahbaz, meanwhile, has 95 elite police commandoes and a number of elite police vehicles at his disposal, even after the completion of his provincial government’s five year tenure. The Punjab chief minister’s first wife, Nusrat Shahbaz, has 11 elite security personnel assigned to her along with one car for their transportation. His second wife, Tehmina Durrani, has access to 18 elite cops along with a vehicle – and another 18 cops for her house situated in Gulberg. Significantly, the data provided to outlined the details of the elite force’s personnel alone – however, the politicians have also been provided security by other law enforcement agencies Punjab’s former chief minister, Dost Muhammad Khosa also continues to enjoy the security of six elite police personnel, while father, the former senior adviser to the Punjab chief ministers, has nine security personnel members assigned to him.

Interestingly, the former Punjab government has also provided elite force security cover to former Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice, Khawaja Muhammad Sharif.

Former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and family still have 21 elite security guards and two vehicles around the clock at their disposal, while former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer’s family has one elite vehicle and 13 security personnel – although this number was the result of an increase following the kidnapping of Salmaan’s son, Shahbaz Taseer.

Similarly, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, along with Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and his son, former MPA Moonis Elahi, have security cover from the elite force.

Significantly, the data provided to outlined the details of the elite force’s personnel alone – however, the politicians have also been provided security by other law enforcement agencies. Many who are assigned elite commandoes without vehicles have access to other police vehicles for their transportation.

The head of the Lahore Operations wing, Rai Tahir, said a list is being made of deployed elite commandoes and other cops and that they will soon withdraw security from all those who are not entitled to it. However, those who have serious threats will remain entitled to security cover, the DIG concluded.

Former Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that Shahbaz is still the chief minister since an interim set up has not come into place yet. He claimed that present and former chief ministers and prime ministers are entitled to this level of security.

Responding to a query on the security provided to the Sharif family, Sanaullah said that the Chaudhry brothers themselves (like the Sharifs) are entitled to this security as the former chief minister and prime minister. He added that after Taseer was kidnapped, authorities have taken more preventive measures to prevent such incidents, which is why its up to their discretion to whom they provide security.

“Elite police is also a part of the security (apparatus) and they have been deployed with those who have terrorism threats,” the former law minister concluded.


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Comments (19) Closed

Jhangir khan Mar 22, 2013 03:25pm
support PTI............only true democratic party.........
fiaz Mar 22, 2013 05:33pm
What can you expect from them, they are all bunch of theifs PMN,PMQ,PPP the lot...
Hyder Mar 22, 2013 06:41pm
Based on stats alone the Sharif bros have many more Elite personals then the entire city of Lahore! I really wonder why do the ordinary citizens join these parties who place more value on their life then the citizens who actually place their trust in them.
Amjad Wyne Mar 22, 2013 06:52pm
OK, we got that about Punjab - how are things done in other provinces or by the central government and other political parties - any earth shattering differences?
Gerry D'Cunha Mar 22, 2013 07:51pm
shamless lots, enjoying luxury style at the cost of poor man's tax money
SHK Mar 22, 2013 08:48pm
And Yet they get re-elected oops re-selected.
numbersnumbers Mar 22, 2013 09:05pm
These units should all be renamed " VVVVVIP Security Services"!!!! Those few remaining assigned to protect the public at large have been issued their "invisibility cloaks"!
Khan Mar 22, 2013 09:30pm
These politicians will take care of poors and serve the country
Saeed Mar 22, 2013 09:38pm
After attck on sri lanka cricket team,these so called Elite commandos better stay with politician . I think common Pakistani should stand against terrorist rather than trusting P. police.
Farrukh Mar 22, 2013 11:36pm
All these people are rich enough that that they can provide their own security...but I guess stealing from the tax payers is part of their blood.
Muhammad Farooq Mar 23, 2013 12:32am
I m not surprised at all at this gross misuse tax payers money. The politicians and so called VIPs can easily afford to hire pvt secuity guards and the entire force could be devoted to the protection of the public. But it requires a degree for consideration for the public which is only found in their long winding speeches.
Chaigram Mar 23, 2013 01:12am
Look at the bright side, at least the Govt has generated employment...... I suggest they should employ more youth in the police services to protect politicians.
Imran Mar 23, 2013 01:20am
Elite force has been created solely to protect these worthless politicians. Thats just a fact. We the voiceless people of Pakistan will be left unprotected until we elect Imran Khan as prime minister.
Kamal Mar 23, 2013 01:49am
Is situation in Sindh and Karachi different? Are elites there not protected by Rangers and Elite Police in a similar fashion? Why to single out situation in Lahore (not that its commendable in any sense of way)? This is how Pakistan's elite are bahving from Karachi to Peshawar, Lahore to Quetta.
avid_supporter Mar 23, 2013 08:08am
So what's new here. Political elites abusing their power and sucking the country dry od its resources, whether it be money, power or security forces. SHAME on them.
Cyrus Howell Mar 23, 2013 08:59pm
What can we say?
Cyrus Howell Mar 23, 2013 09:01pm
Doubt Imran can trust these elite police to protect him. He is better off with his own security.
Amin Hussain Mar 23, 2013 09:11pm
Five years later, the leading English daily notices something might be wrong...
sraz45 Mar 24, 2013 05:15am
This feudal system of "elite" and not so elite has to be taken down. The rule of law has to be established. It's will be an arduous task awaiting the next prime minister to tackle this and a slew of other major problems. I hope it is Imran Khan, he has the credentials to move the country forward and rid it of the old guard whose incompetence and corrupt ways have been the cause of the Army jumping in to take charge.