Police to spend Rs1.108b on green uniforms

Question of change in colour has been debated for about a decade


Muhammad Shahzad August 21, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Punjab Police has allocated over Rs1.108 billion for uniforms (stitched and unstitched) as part of its annual procurement plan for FY 2019-2020.

At least Rs602 million have been allocated for stitched uniforms, including those for the Punjab Police and their Special Protection Unit (SPU). The SPU uniform will also have badges on it.

Of the mentioned Rs1.108 billion, at least Rs105 million will be spent on the procurement of uniform cloth.

The amount allocated to procure winter jackets for Punjab Police, Elite Force, PHP and Dolphin Squad is estimated to be Rs111 million. Over Rs288 million will be spent to purchase vests and t-shirts.

These items included half-sleeved vests, full-sleeved warm vest, white vest, polo t-shirt, PHP t-shirt, Elite Forces t-shirts and t-shirts for the Anti-Riot Force (ARF).

The Dolphin Squad will get one half sleeve and one full sleeve t-shirt, while the SPU will get a t-shirt for the summer, along with appropriate clothing for the winter. The CTD will also get its own t-shirts.

The question of a change in police uniform has been debated for a decade among the top brass of the Punjab Police. The uniform was changed in 2017 from a black shirt and yellow trouser to olive green.

As far as the history of the black shirt and yellow trouser is concerned, it was changed overnight after the first martial law in the country. Earlier, police wore both yellow trousers and shirt. After the martial law, army personnel were also supposed to mingle with the public just like the police and the uniform was changed to avoid confusion.

This black shirt and yellow trouser uniform was changed to the olive green uniform by then Inspector General Police Mushtaq Sukhera in 2017.

Sukhera described the olive green uniform as environment-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, easy to wear and clean. At the time, he also maintained that over 70% of the police’s top brass voted in favour of the new uniforms during a secret poll.

However, when the olive green uniform was 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 crime.

In opposition to the change in uniform, Punjab Additional Inspector General Usman Khattak took 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, during his first term as Punjab IGP, Arif Nawaz formed an eight-member committee, headed by the then Additional IGP Muhammad Tahir, to gauge the force’s stance on the new uniform.

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 was replaced.

The issue resurfaced after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) formed government in Punjab after the 2018 General Elections. In December 2018, Punjab Chief Minister’s Spokesperson Shehbaz Gill tweeted that the uniform of a black shirt and khaki pants would be introduced from July 01. However, when Amjad Saleemi took charge as the provincial police chief, he again deliberated upon different colours and samples of uniform. A pattern was almost decided to be finalised to replace olive green, but Saleemi was replaced by Arif Nawaz as IGP.

Now IGP Arif Nawaz is adamant to continue with the olive green uniform. This lot of stitched and unstitched uniform being procured for the financial year 2019-20 will be of olive green.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2019.

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