LAHORE: The police department is set to install additional equipment worth Rs12 million to beef up security at the chief minister’s camp office in Raiwind.
The decision has been taken in the wake of the assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer. A summary moved by the Special Branch has been approved by the provincial finance department.
The sanctioned equipment includes two vehicle scanners, two CCTV networks with 40 cameras, 25 sets of walkie-talkies, 12 searchlights, a sound system, two blow-horns, 10 cabins, a sniffer dog and a moveable picket.
The Punjab government has spent Rs373 million since December 2007 on security upgrades for VIPs.
An official said most of the equipment purchased previously was for 41-S Defence Housing Authority and 180-H Model Town (CM’s camp office and residence). He said that installation of similar equipment at the chief minister’s residence in Raiwind was because it has been declared his camp office.
“A Special Branch team will be deployed at the Raiwind office to monitor security arrangements around the clock,” he added.
He said that currently 248 Elite Force personnel were deployed for the security of the Sharif family. Of these, he said, 71 were with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, including 58 at his Raiwind residence, 55 with Nawaz Sharif, 24 with Hamza Shahbaz, seven with Salman Shahbaz, six with Capt (retd) Safdar Mehmood, nine with Imran Yousaf (Shahbaz’nephew) and 10 with the chief minister’s first wife. Eight Elite Force officials were deployed at the Gulberg residence of Shahbaz’s other wife, he added.
Another police official seeking anonymity said that the police department was facing a shortage of funds and that police officials on other than VIP duty were mostly using outdated weapons.
In December 2008, the police department imported security equipment worth Rs250 million, including heavy-duty IED jammers, walk-through gates (with photo recording facility), conventional gates with wooden carry boxes, bomb locators/mine detectors, hand-held metal detectors, bomb defusing blankets, defusing bin, bullet-proof jackets, bullet-proof rostrum, CCTV cameras and bottom-view mirrors with night-sight facility.
In December 2007, the provincial government provided Rs111 million for the purchase of 621 items. These included four Toyota Land Cruisers and four heavy-duty IED jammers, 23 walk-through gates (with photo recording facility), 90 conventional gates with wooden carry boxes, 30 bomb locators/mine detectors, 340 hand held metal detectors and 130 bottom-view mirrors with night sight facility.
Of these, 80 were handed to the Directorate of Civil Defence, 13 to Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD) and remaining 528 remained with the police department.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2011.
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