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KP Elite Police Force counters terrorism
The force augments regular security teams in fight against terrorists, officials say
By Javed Aziz Khan
PESHAWAR – The creation of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Elite Police Force has strengthened security forces against terrorists in the province, officials said.
“The force was established under the Police Order 2002 to carry out special operations against the terrorists and counter terrorism attacks,” the commandant of the Elite Force, Tariq Javed, told Central Asia Online.
The sanctioned strength of the force is around 6,000 and already 4,000 men have passed the training, he said. Some of the members have been transferred from regular police units, while others are retired army officers who have led operations against militants.
Force headquarters is presently at the Central Police Office in Peshawar, from where the commandant, a deputy commandant and an additional inspector general oversee the unit’s affairs.
KP Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti approved the formation of the force in November, 2009. The first batch of 1,022 recruits was trained by Pakistani soldiers at the Punjab Regimental Centre in Mardan, while another 521 commandoes received training in Karachi.
A joint Elite Training School, funded by foreign donations, will be set up in Nowshera by 2013, Abdul Majeed Marwat, commandant of the Frontier Constabulary and an additional inspector general of the Elite Force until last year, said.
“The Elite Police Force is a specialised unit of police who undertake special operations against terrorists, rescue operations and VIP security,” said Marwat. Members have made great sacrifices as they have worked to keep the terrorists from implementing their agenda, he said.
“The Elite Police Force is the backbone of the KP Police Force,” said KP Inspector General of Police Akbar Khan Hoti. “The cops of the force have set glorious traditions of professional commitment and devotion to their cause for the internal security of the country.”
The commandoes have proved their mettle against terrorists and have rendered unprecedented sacrifices for the country and the province, he said.
Elite Police Force’s specialty
The Elite Police Force is specially trained to promptly strike a specific target, mostly terrorists or in some cases hardened criminals.
“The Elite Force is the ‘punching force’ for restoration of law and order and is not meant to do the duties of security guards with VVIPs or other ordinary policing jobs,” Hoti said.
The eighth batch of the Elite Police Force was passed out at the end of June from the Azad Kashmir Regiment Centre in Manser, Attock District.
The class included 462 policemen from the regular force who prevailed in a competitive process to select the most capable for the job. Constable Mudassar Shah of Peshawar was declared best all-round cadet of the course.
Regular police officers who want to step up to the Elite Police Force train for four months.
“The personnel are given training in … heavy weapons, rappelling, sniper firing, judo, karate, VIP protection and (mountaineering),” Tariq said.
The Elite Police Force played a key role along with the army in eliminating a network of militants in Malakand in 2009-2010.
“I, along with my colleagues, performed duty in Buner and Swat when the area was troubled,” said an Elite Police Force member who identified himself only as Khan. “The Elite Police fought against the militants along with army and other forces and eliminated their network to restore peace in the entire Malakand Division.”
Elite Police Force commandoes have been performing duties at security posts in Sarband, Matani, Shiekhan, Badhaber, Mathra and other rural parts of Peshawar that share boundaries with the troubled Khyber Agency and Dara Adamkhel, Khan said.
Before the Elite Police Force arose, the Criminal Investigation Department of the KP Police and the Quick Response Force of the Frontier Constabulary used to be called on to control extraordinary situations.
Modelled after a successful unit
Today’s Elite Police Force is modelled after a force established in Punjab in the late 1990s to create 2,500 trained commandoes who could better respond to terrorism, sectarian violence, hijacking, carjacking and other forms of violence. In 2004, authorities added another 5,000 slots to the Punjab force.
The Punjab elite police received special training from the army at the Elite Police Training School in Lahore “so it can assist the regular police in case of any extraordinary law-and-order situation,” said Ashfaq Ahmad, a senior official of the Punjab Police.