Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has approved changes in the uniform for the police, confirmed provincial inspector general (IGP) Amjad Javed Saleemi while speaking to the media on Tuesday. The new uniforms will be worn by police officials from July 1, he added.
“The samples were presented before the chief minister and he has approved one of them,” he stated. He added that the decision was also debated by the executive board and other forums for the last four to five months. The new uniform will resemble the Islamabad police’s uniform, which is a light blue shirt with navy pants, he maintained.
Police officials have been in a state of limbo regarding the change in uniforms. The issue has been up for debate for the past four to five years.
In December 2018, Punjab Chief Minister Spokesperson Shehbaz Gill tweeted that the uniform of a black shirt and khaki pants would be introduced from July 1. This was also seemingly confirmed by the IGP who stated that the olive green uniforms will cease to exist from July and will be replaced by the old uniforms.
However, on Tuesday, the chief minister, during his visit to the central police office, formally approved changing the olive green uniform. The uniform was initially introduced by the government during the last tenure of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The then IGP Mushtaq Sukhera had said that over 70% of the top brass voted in favour of the new uniforms during a secret poll.
Environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing, easy to wear and cleanliness were factors that were kept in mind while thinking of the uniform, he said at the time.
But when the olive green uniform had been introduced, opinions were divided. A large number of PSPs and lower cadre officials raised reservations about the uniform, stating the outfit failed to deter criminals from committing crimes.
In opposition of the change in uniform, Punjab Additional Inspector General Usman Khattak took the oath as the interim IGP in the black and khaki variation. In comparison, the rest of the officials at the ceremony had donned the olive green uniform.
Sensing the polarising opinions, former IGP Arif Nawaz had formed an eight member committee, headed by the then Additional IGP Muhammad Tahir, to gauge the force’s stance on the new uniforms.
The committee was supposed to survey the whole force that was spread across the province. However, with the change in government, the Punjab police’s command and the committee were replaced, rendering it redundant.