LAHORE: The police force has gone through several changes when it comes to how the department is organised. Since the inception of the police force in 1860, each sub-inspector and officers of higher rank were provided horses which were used for patrolling purposes.
Motorcycles and cars replaced horses a century and a half later, but the animals still remain an important part of the force. Police travelling on horses is referred to as the “mounted force.”
It is expected to be merged with the anti-riots force in Punjab for processions and emergency situations.
Reportedly, Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Arif Nawaz Khan expressed interest in the mounted force and plans to merge it with the anti-riots force which will soon reach completion.
The mounted force is used for patrolling in narrow markets and important thoroughfares in Lahore. Each mounted force official is equipped with an SMG rifle, which allows them to hit its target easily within a one kilometre range.
Faisalabad RPO Ghulam Mehmood Dogar has been appointed as the head of the Punjab Mounted Police force. The RPO told The Express Tribune that the Punjab police presently have 259 mixed breed horses, since foreign breeds do not adjust in Pakistan while the local horses are sluggish. “Hence, with the crossing of local and foreign breed of horses, a mix breed was produced.”
Training of the newly appointed officials is offered at the Police Training College Chung and Sihala Police Training College in Rawalpindi. A total of 252 police officials have been separately appointed for the mounted force. The officials of the mounted force are appointed after passing the NTS and PTS tests.
The RPO shared that 20-25 horses have been provided for each of the nine regions including Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan. The horses are only used on the orders of the RPO.
Speaking on the importance of the mounted force, the RPO said that the mounted force patrols on agricultural lands, airports, Shorkot airbase and riverside areas, since a lack of roads in these areas makes it difficult for police vans to pass through. “The horses, on the contrary, can easily patrol in farms and rugged areas. Maintaining the old norm in police; the mounted force acts as a pilot during the arrival of VVIPS and IGP in the region and the parade incomplete without them. Stables are being built afresh in Punjab including Lahore.”
SP Headquarters Syed Karar Hussain supervises 49 horses of the Lahore police. The SP said that the horses are medically examined after every 15 days, while separate officials are deputed to look after them. Sharing details about the diet of the horses, the SP added that two meals a day are served to the horses. “The meal is prepared using four kilogrammes of mixed barley and bran is served to each horse every morning. Coconut oil is also given to horses on a daily basis.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2019.