Under attack: Militants know how to make the police ‘immobile’

Since the beginning of the year, more than 135 policemen have been killed.


Faraz Khan December 07, 2014

KARACHI:


Militants have found the Achilles’ heel of the Karachi police. They have figured out that if they attack police vans, law enforcers won’t be able to carry out their routine or snap checks, thus giving them enough elbow room to carry out bigger attacks.


Last month, two police vehicles were damaged in separate militant attacks - for days after, the respective police stations could not send men out for routine duties as there was a shortage of vehicles.

“It looks like they plan to keep the police inside the police stations,” said a high-ranking police officer. “Militancy is not something the police should be dealing with but we are fighting it every day.” He added that unless the government provided them with proper equipment, support and reforms, the police will have to think about taking a step back.



Since the beginning of the year, more than 135 policemen were killed while on duty. In several assaults, militants attacked the police vehicle by opening fire at them. However, in recent attacks, the militants have shown a preference for using chemicals with bombs - a combination the police finds difficult to combat.

Head Constable Shamsur Rehman and Constable Muhammad Mobin died while policeman Sohail Ejaz was injured when unidentified motorcyclists hurled a hand grenade and a flammable chemical at their mobile as they patrolled MA Jinnah Road on November 10. The chemical sparked a fire that destroyed the vehicle and left all three policemen from the Preedy police station severely injured.

A similar incident occurred less than 10 days before the MA Jinnah Road attack when an ASI and constable of the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station were injured by two assailants who threw an explosive device at a police mobile van near the NIPA flyover. The ASI and constable had been conducting snap check around Imambargah Madinatul Ilm when motorcyclists threw a bomb at their van. The explosion set the police mobile on fire. By the time the fire tenders got there, the vehicle was destroyed. In another attack, on November 15, two police personnel, head constable Asif Javed, 38, and a constable, Abrar Fayyaz, 35, were wounded when armed motorcyclists attacked a vehicle of the Preedy police station near Tibet Centre on MA Jinnah Road.

“The police is there to protect the citizens,” said Gulshan-e-Iqbal SP Abid Qaimkhani. “But if the police can’t protect themselves, how will it protect others?”

So far, the Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Preedy and other police stations have not been provided with replacement or new police mobiles.“What of the police mobile” asked a policeman from the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station. “Only the ashes remain. The police station needs at least 10 vans.”

Strength in numbers?

The Karachi police not only has a shortage of man power but also resources. At the moment there are over 110 police stations in the city and they have 325 police mobile vans - each police station has at least two to four at their disposal.

“The mobiles are given to the police stations according to the area they cover,” said a senior officer. “Police stations which cover a bigger area usually get three or four mobiles while others get two.” He added that majority of the mobiles were Suzuki pickups while a few were Hilux vans. The officer claimed that it was impossible for the police to chase criminals in these vehicles. He said that it was sad to think they had to go around in a Suzuki pickup and the criminals had better cars than them.

“The militants are not against the mobiles, they are against the police,” said AIG Karachi Ghulam Qadir Thebo. “The people responsible for attacking the mobiles have been traced and will be arrested soon.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2014.

COMMENTS (2)

Radiohead | 7 years ago | Reply

“The militants are not against the mobiles, they are against the police,” said AIG Karachi Ghulam Qadir Thebo. “The people responsible for attacking the mobiles have been traced and will be arrested soon.”

hahahahah this statement by the AIG made my day.

Ishrat salim | 7 years ago | Reply

Sindhi govt and federal govt are sleeping....if same non- serious attitude continues, there will be no law enforcement policemen to take on these criminals....what are these politicians made of ?

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