LAHORE - Punjab Police Inspector General Captain (retired) Arif Nawaz Khan last week visited the residences of policemen who were martyred in the line of duty when a suicide bomber tried to attack a religious congregation in Raiwind.
The police chief not only remained in the field during the PSL matches in Lahore to supervise the security operations but he also continued visiting the public hospitals to enquire after the injured policemen.
At least 12 people, including seven police officials, died and over two dozen others, mostly policemen, were wounded in the terror strike, claimed by an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, near a religious congregation on March 14.
Tens of thousands of people were attending the week-long preaching congregation when the suicide blast ripped through the police checkpoint. An officer said the bomber had targeted the police.
IGP Arif Nawaz Khan, accompanied by Lahore CCPO Captain (retired) Muhammad Amin Wains and DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf, visited Sharif Medical Complex to inquire about health following the blast. On this occasion, the IGP directed the health authorities to ensure best medical treatment for the injured policemen. The captain of the provincial police also directed his department to leave no stone unturned for the welfare of the families of police martyrs.
The funeral prayers for the martyred policemen were held at the Police Lines Qila Gujjar Singh. Punjab chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Governor Rafique Rajwana, Inspector General of Police Arif Nawaz Khan, Lahore Capital City Police Officer Muhammad Amin Wains and a large number of police officers and military officers attended the funeral prayers.
IGP Arif Nawaz Khan while talking to reporters at the funeral prayers said that the Punjab police are playing the role of frontline soldiers in the ongoing war against terrorism and extremism. He said that the police personnel who embraced martyrdom in Raiwind blast are heroes of the nation who not only set an unprecedented example of their duties by offering their lives but also ensured the safety of lives and properties of thousands of individuals.
The relatives and colleagues of the martyred policemen were also present on this occasion.
Moving scenes were witnesses at the Police Headquarters when the bodies were brought in ambulances for funeral prayers. The martyred police were paid rich tributes and a smart group of police presented gun salute to the officers who lost their while fighting back terrorists.
Two Sub-Inspector rank officers and four Head Constables were among the dead. They were identified by police as SI Manzoor Ahmad, SI Muhammad Aslam, and Head Constables Muhammad Saeed, Muhammad Tanvir, Saeed and Muhammad Naeem Akhtar.
Three of the four civilians who died in the bombing were identified as Amir Afridi, a resident of Kohat, Asif from Faisalabad and Rameez Khan, a resident of Charsadda. Police were yet to ascertain identity of another man who also died in the blast.
On the other hand, police threw a massive security blanket across Lahore for the PSL matches played at the Gaddafi Stadium last week.
Ahead of the crucial matches, authorities in Lahore also launched combing and search operations to hunt down suspected elements. Paramilitary troops were assisting the law enforcement agency in security and combing operations on a daily basis during the last week. Counter-Terrorism Department personnel and police launched door-to-door searches in residential and commercial areas located near the Gaddafi Stadium and around the hotel where foreign players were staying.
High power lights were installed with heavy generators on both sides of players’ route from the hotel to the stadium as part of the security plan. Similarly, police commandoes were deployed in different enclosures after special briefings so that they would handle cricket fans politely during the checking. Also, the Safe City Authority was directed to keep an eye on all kinds of activities around the stadium and on the route from hotel to stadium.
No less than 1,000 CCTV cameras were made operational in the provincial capital. Helicopters were seen hovering over the sky during the movement of players from hotel to Gaddafi Stadium. A senior official of the Punjab Safe City Authority told reporters that more than hundreds of CCTV cameras were activated only on the route of the players (from hotel to stadium) to monitor every object from the central control rooms.
Dozens of officials worked in different shifts at the police operation rooms to ensure round-the-clock monitoring of several city roads. Some special surveillance vehicles were also deployed around the stadium for security monitoring.
City police, citing security reasons, closed several major roads in Lahore for the cricket matches. Police commandoes, patrol squads and anti-riot units were seen patrolling on major city roads while several police reserves were put on standby. A good number of plainclothesmen were deployed at various points to keep a vigilant eye on the activities of the suspected persons.
Despite the deadly terror strike in Raiwind, the police provided best security cover to the players, visiting guests and the cricket fans.
DIG Haider Ashraf appreciated the city police for ensuring best security arrangements for the cricket matches. He said that every policeman played his role to make this event a success.
“We did a lot of homework. Our personnel were performing their duties passionately during the PSL matches. City police accepted cricket security as a challenge and made the mega matches a complete success,” Ashraf added. He said that every person was allowed access to the stadium after physical search at three levels. The police department provided food and water bottles to policemen on duty at various points. The DIG said that city police department took several important steps to ensure smooth and safe passage for the motorcades of the cricket team.