LAHORE: As many as 30 policemen have been taken off VVIP duty, including for the President and Prime Minister, as suspicions about their links with extremist groups rise, The Express Tribune has learnt.
These policemen were found not fit to perform the sensitive security duties as revealed during the process of screening their records, officials in Security Division Islamabad confirmed.
After the assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer by his guard from the Elite Force Malik Mumtaz Qadri, screening processes have started across the country especially in Islamabad and provincial capitals.
During the course of screening, as many as 30 police officers – mostly constables who were assigned with VIPS or important buildings and sensitive points – have been taken off duty.
They are now assigned less important duties due to suspicions on their links with extremists.
Officials of the security division said that the investigation into the links and activities of the 30 men is ongoing and they will be dealt with accordingly.
DIG Security Division Islamabad Dr Mujeebur Rehman also confirmed the reassignment of duties saying that all staffers of the security divisions who were deployed VVIP’s security or important places have been screened by different agencies. He added that different aspects, including the officers’ previous record, links, behaviour, contacts, sect and other necessary information, are being screened.
He said that there would be a detailed review of each official including monitoring their telephone records and personal movement.
Rehman said that during informal interactions with the personnel, they tried to ascertain their mindset and whether they have extremist views.
He said that all the personnel must be examined for any connection with extremist or fundamentalist outfits, in which case they would be declared unfit for duty.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2011.