ISLAMABAD: With their lights flashing and sirens blaring, dozens of police cars snaked through the city on Monday to announce the arrival of the city’s new counter-terrorism force (CTF).
The flag march was held after the first batch of the new force was formally inducted into the police on Tuesday.
Envisaged under the National Action Plan (NAP), the force comprises of 970 specially trained personnel. Its first batch, comprising of 380 men and women, passed out on Tuesday.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal attended the passing out parade of the counter-terrorism force (CTF) officers and a live demonstration by CTF snipers at the Police Lines Headquarters on Tuesday.
“The Pakistani nation, the armed forces, police and other law enforcement agencies (LEAs) have rendered great sacrifices in the war against terrorism,” he said while addressing the passing out ceremony.
“Apart from the sacrifice of thousands of precious lives, the country’s economy has also suffered losses of more than $100 billion.”
In what was a veiled rebuke to fresh allegations by the US, the interior minister pointed out that successful counter-terrorism operations carried out by Pakistan’s security forces had weakened networks operated by terrorists in the country, forcing them to run.
“We made NAP and launched a full-fledged operation against terrorists in the country which would continue until the complete annihilation of terrorists and extremists,” Iqbal asserted.
Terming terrorism a ‘common enemy’, Iqbal reiterated that Pakistan wants lasting peace in the region together with its international partners.
“Peace is as important for development as oxygen is for the sustenance of life,” he said, adding that the societies plagued with instability and insurgency could not keep up the pace of progress.
In this regard, he hailed the police force for not only doing their duty in maintaining peace but also playing a critical role in the development of the country.
Iqbal welcomed the women officers who had completed their training alongside men to become part of the new force.
“Women are also playing an active role in the fight against terrorism,” Iqbal said.
The interior minister elaborated that personnel for the force were selected on merit and were trained by army personnel to equip them with the tools to handle modern challenges.
With the CTF geared to handle hardcore terrorists, Iqbal said that they had also created an anti-riot police wing to ensure law and order in the capital.
Noting that in an age of innovation where change was frequent, Iqbal explained that there was a need to “develop ourselves as per the requirements of the world because the nature of today’s challenges is global and challenges have no boundaries.”
Earlier, Inspector General of Police Sultan Azam Temuri said an action plan was being prepared to improve the performance of police in the shortest possible time.
Trained by the army’s elite Special Services Group (SSG), this specially raised force is expected to get its own precinct to work out of, a separate residential block, and even an intelligence wing to support its operations.
Headed by a senior superintendent of police, the force has been designed to counter terrorist threats, operating on a pattern perfected by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab Police and is hence expected to be renamed as CTD.
The original idea for the force was to build it from the ground up. However, to speed up the process, the Islamabad Police only recruited 252 fresh constables into the force. The remaining 130 officers were pulled from other divisions of capital’s police department.
Providing details of the equipment and training the force has, IGP Temuri said that they have been provided with 21 vehicles and an additional 22 are expected to be delivered soon.
He added that the CTF were given specialized training, similar to the one given to officers of Punjab CTD, at the Elite Training School in Bedian.
To set up the intelligence wing, 45 officers sat through a course on intelligence at the Intelligence Bureau (IB) Academy in Islamabad.
Officials said that they have already recruited 294 constables under the second phase of the project and these officers are currently
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2018.