In a bid to equip the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) police to maintain law and order in the mountainous region, G-B Chief Minister Mehdi Shah on Wednesday handed over 2,000 weapons and 200,000 rounds to the force.
“Without peace, we cannot make progress in any field, be it education, health or culture,” Shah said at the distribution ceremony. He said the weapons will enable the police to effectively counter terrorism and extremists; “the menaces that have ruined life in the region”.
A total of 700 G3-rifles with 70,000 rounds, 300 7.62mm sub-machine guns with 30,000 rounds, and 1,000 9mm MP5 sub-machine guns with 100,000 rounds were handed over to the police.
“We have spent Rs220 million to procure these weapons; now I will not tolerate lame excuses from the police in maintaining law and order,” he added candidly after the ceremony. He said that the police also have been provided wireless sets and counter-terrorism training. He added that efforts are also underway to build the capacity of intelligence agencies.
The ceremony was attended by Inspector General Police Ashar Hussain, Chief Secretary Saifullah Chatha and senior army and civil officials of the Gilgit central police.
The decision to equip the G-B police with additional weaponry was taken after sectarian bouts claimed at least 23 lives in the region a few months back. After the police failed to contain the situation, the army was called in to assist and subsequently a month-long curfew was imposed.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012.
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