KARACHI: On Friday, the provincial government decided to form a well-trained police force wholly to guard polio volunteers as had been foreseen a couple of years previously, but the idea was released for baffling reasons.
Officials in the Sindh government said the disgusting event of Wednesday in which seven policemen guarding polio teams were killed by gunmen on motorcycles in Orangi Town pushed the government to rethink the idea of establishing the force, which required policemen with commando training with specific assignment to safeguard the unarmed volunteers who stroll streets and do their job knocking every door in their areas.
“The idea was originally floated two years ago and had impressed the chief minister but then it was dropped without citing any reason,” said an official.
“The very reason might be related to provision of huge funding required to raise such force.”
The bases said Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had asked the senior chain of command in the police and provincial home ministry to quickly work on the plan.
“It has to be done quickly as the present police force has little training and is more efficient in routine crimes than guarding thousands of volunteers in hostile conditions,” said an official in the home ministry.
Nevertheless, the order could not be complied with and all such public claims were readily forgotten.
“The problem then was that the police force was short of personnel to raise a dedicated squad. Such a force could only be viable if we recruit it afresh like a new scheme,” said an official.
He claimed that the Sindh government treated poliovirus and ‘terrorists’ on equal merit. “And now both have a nexus against our future generations.”
The officials said the government had no idea involving the armed forces in carrying out the ongoing polio campaign in the city.
“Apart from that unfortunate incident, our campaign is running satisfactorily, and despite the attack on the police, their morale did not go down,” an official said.
He added that the government was not considering the demands of involving army in the polio campaign.
“The armed forces always remain on standby, but that is an option that could be taken at times when all the rest are consumed.”
The officials involved in the polio campaign said none of the neighbourhoods in the city had been spared during the campaign and the results were ‘highly impressive’.