Bomb disposal officers form part of the most neglected units of the Sindh police. Besides the lowest salaries, they do not even have enough gadgets. The unit has around 43 staff members but only eight experts for the mega city.
The unit is now only equipped with four bomb-disposal suits, one bomb disposal van, five mine locaters, five bomb locaters, four X-Ray machines, 12 bomb defusing kits, five bomb blankets and over a dozen detectors. The unit gets almost no funding from the government or the department. The cost is borne by aid from the US and UK governments, who have donated much of the equipment. Despite Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) suits, some experts deal with bombs without wearing them because of their heavy weight — over 40kgs.
In 2013, the US government also donated over 40 EOD vans to Pakistan but they have yet to be allotted to bomb disposal units. The police department has demanded 13 vans — five for Karachi and the rest for other districts of the province — but only one has been allotted to Karachi as yet.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2014.