Rangers to Provide Security to Traffic Police amid their Target Killing
KARACHI: The traffic police department has sought protection from the paramilitary force following the series of targeted attacks on its personnel. In the fifth such incident on Tuesday, a traffic police official, Juman, son of Ghulam Nabi, was attacked while on duty near the Matric Board Office in Nazimabad.
In the recent wave of terrorist attacks, at least five traffic police personnel have been killed and seven others wounded in five incidents in recent weeks. All five attacks were identical in nature where armed motorcyclists opened fire at the on-duty personnel at their regular positions in Saddar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Sher Shah, Mai Kolachi Road and Nazimabad. In a separate incident, one traffic police official was deprived of his official weapon while on duty in Defence Housing Authority (DHA).
Though the traffic police have been provided weapons and bulletproof jackets to protect themselves, these steps have proved to be inadequate. Ultimately, the traffic police department decided to seek protection from the Rangers. “We request you to please assign your wing commanders to conduct joint patrolling and snap-checking with the district traffic SPs at sensitive locations in the city to avoid such attacks on the traffic police personnel,” states a letter written by the Traffic Police department to the Sindh Rangers director general Major General Bilal Akbar.
Besides, the traffic police officials in the city are being trained in anti-terror techniques. The personnel are being trained to fire 9mm, sub-machineguns (SMGs) and MP-5 guns at a shooting range by top marksmen of the Sindh police. They are also being trained on how to keep and maintain a weapon and take position on the roads while performing their duties. “The traffic police are already trained in handling of weapons, but fresh courses are being conducted to polish their skills,” said the traffic police spokesperson.
On the roads of Karachi, the total strength of the traffic police is 2,845. These personnel work in two shifts at around 309 traffic points across Karachi. District South tops the priority list, with the highest number of traffic points at 160.
Currently, the traffic police have been armed with 93 SMGs and 25 9mm pistols. “These 93 SMGs are the same that were given to us during the Karachi operation in the 90s. The guns were submitted to the police stations after the law and order situation improved at the time,” said a traffic police official privy to the matter. “Now, to combat these new challenges, these 20-year-old guns have been given to us again.”
In addition to these 93 SMGs, around 25 9mm pistols have also been provided to the traffic police by the Sindh IG. Similarly, around 630 bulletproof jackets have also been provided to them. “These weapons and jackets are too little, which shows how sincere our seniors are with regards to the protection of our lives,” said a police traffic constable on duty in District Central.
Traffic Police Massacre
Law enforcers investigating the recent wave of attacks on the traffic police are still uncertain of the identity and motive of the group behind the attacks. They claim, however, to have made some breakthrough. “The initial forensic reports suggest that the same weapon has been used to carry out all the attacks, which means the same group is behind all of them,” explained a Karachi police official, who wished not to be named. The investigators said that they were also trying to make sketches of the suspects with the help of the injured traffic policemen and witnesses. Meanwhile, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesperson, Muhammad Khorasani, in an email on Tuesday, claimed responsibility for the attack that claimed the lives of two personnel on Mai Kolachi Road.
“Right now, we cannot make any conclusions but what is clear is that they are being targeted because they are soft targets,” said the investigator. “There is a greater security risk in providing them weapons because the criminals may also target to snatch the weapons.”
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