Following its own decision to set up a new counter terrorism force (CTF) in Punjab, the government’s step to transfer the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), the main counter terrorism unit of Punjab Police, Elite Force and Special Branch from Central Police office to the Home Department of the province has created a lot of stir among the police circles in the province.
All the police officials in the province have threatened to either leave the province or resign en bloc if the move was not halted.
“We strongly believe the DMG baboos are behind the move. Three close associates of chief minister Punjab and the premier, who are from the DMG, hoodwinked them into taking such cosmetic measures,” a top police official from Lahore and representative of Punjab Police Association, a platform formed to resist the move, tells TNS.
The CM has announced that the proposed force would for now work under the command of police department. But he has also told the IGP Punjab that he will have to follow the federal government’s policy regarding the establishment of the new anti-terrorism force.
Vague clarification by the CM has settled the storm for now but the 178,000-strong police force in Punjab is “very vigilant”. A delegation of police officers plans to meet the CM in the coming days to convey its reservations and suggestions.
Majority of the police officials in Punjab believe that it is time to introduce the KP model of policing where both the IG police and the home secretary belong to police cadre. “There is no gap in policy and implementation level and it has been achieving results,” says the police official.
The idea of raising a new force comprising ‘corporals’ and not ‘constables’ was approved at a meeting chaired by the PM in October this year. A memo of direction (copy available with TNS) shows clear mistrust in the existing police department.
“The 1500 police constables and 125 elite officials in the existing CTD shall go back to their parent departments. Induction of personnel from police into the new CTD should be kept at bare minimum. The new CTD should be established under the Home department as a discrete entity totally separate from the existing Police department, even physically. A member of every field team shall get a monthly salary of Rs75000,” read some parts of the memo.
The federal government, according to sources in the interior ministry, has approved a budget of Rs6 billion — 15 times more than the budget of the existing CTD.
“It means that money is not the real issue. But one needs to bring DMG people in to get more money from the state,” says a senior police official.