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Coronavirus Haunting ‘Unprotected’ Punjab Police As Cases Surge To 710

-- Some senior police officers including DIGs, SSPs and SPs have also fallen victim to Covid-19

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By Muhammad Faisal Ali Ghumman

The Punjab police lost another police officer because of coronavirus in the provincial capital on Tuesday amidst severe reservations among the force that the top police command is on the one hand is issuing directions for aggressive policing in addition to the virus-specific duties, but on the other is not making serious efforts to protect cops from the virus impact.

The latest death of Inspector Aamir Dogar, who was posted Civil Lines CIA In-charge, sent a shock wave and sadness among the police officers.

Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, police are performing its duties under the essential services act.

According to a breakup of official statistics available with Lahore Mirror, police authorities have so far been able to test not more than 20,000 cops out of around 200,000 in the province. The results of around 2,700 officers and officials are expected.

Of 710 cases throughout the province, 426 have been quarantined in hospitals, 280 officials have recovered from virus after treatment, while five (fifth died on June 2) have lost their lives. Around 19,400 officers have so far been tested for virus as of June 1 out of which 16,200 officials tested negative.

The situation in Lahore is much worse as up to 186 officers and officials have so far contracted deadly virus. As of June 1, four cops lost their lives, 109 are either quarantined or hospitalised, while 74 have recovered in the capital city district police.

Of 710 cases throughout the province, 426 have been quarantined in hospitals, 280 officials have recovered from virus after treatment. Around 19,400 officers have so far been tested for virus as of June 1 out of which 16,200 officials tested negative.

Interestingly, the virus has created its scare even at the usually considered secured office of the Central Police Office (previously the office of the Inspector General of Police) as around 10 cases have been reported there.

A couple of DIGs, SSPs and SPs have also been tested positive and are under self-quarantine now a days. Some senior officers including Additional IGs and DIGs have got leaves to avoid contracting virus.

There are reports that a senior police officer at the CPO, who is associated with the welfare of the police, seems reluctant to release funds to buy Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for the officials due to unexplained reasons.

Conversations with some senior officers, who wished not to be named as they were not authorized to speak on official matters, apparently establish that provincial police authorities sitting at the helm of affairs are not allegedly releasing funds meant to spent on PPEs for field officials.

Only policemen engaged with hospitals, quarantine centres and transportation of dead bodies are up to reasonable extent using proper PPEs and following SOPs.

The situation police are facing now a days in unprecedented so it’s not difficult for officers to make sure the true implementation of corona SOPs on subordinates fighting and confronting criminals and interacting public all the time.

They have raised questions the Buzdar-led regime that how it can protect the police force fighting the corona battle on front-line when police budget is being reduced up to Rs3 billion.

A couple of field officers claim that the provincial police chief’s expectations are growing from the force to fight crimes and bust criminals during monthly crime meetings, but the officers who have to fight crimes are falling victim to coronavirus due to one or other reasons.

However some others are of the view that the police force is meant to serve the people in all situations and the coronavirus is no exception.

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