Only one day before the twin marches of Pakistan Tehrik e Insaaf (PTI) Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) Dr Tahirul Qadri reach Islamabad, the spirits and moral of the police force deputed to face the angry marchers is very low, listless and devoid of any motivation and enthusiasm, Pakistan Today has surveyed.
A police sub- inspector, who has been called from far off district of Lodhran along with 100 constables, told Pakistan Today that what he is most concerned of is his own safety.
“I don’t want to lose my life for a thankless job, there is no reward and even if there is any, what is the use of it if am no more,” he told lethargically.
When asked isn’t it his duty to follow the orders of the superiors, he replied in affirmative but took exception to the nature of duty they have been forced to perform.
“I have a marriage of my real niece on Friday and I am not sure if I will attend it at all, though I had to take care of all the arrangements,” he told in a low and sad tone.
A constable named Irshad who has arrived in Islamabad late last night said that he and his 200 fellow constables from Multan District have been lodged in an open yard in MargallaTown without any bedding or mess facility.
When asked how does he feel facing violent and angry supporters of Qadri and Imran Khan, he said smilingly “I am a supporter of Dr Qadri myself,” to the utter shock of this scribe.
He further told that the Islamabad police has not provided them with water even, “I have drank water from a tap there” pointing his finger towards a tap in the green belt near the Kashmir Chowk.
He asked how the Government can expect us to fight when they even do not bother about our diet and living conditions. According to him, only those police men get involved in these fights with public who are close to senior officers and have gratifications in mind.
When In charge officer of Multan Contingent was asked about the dismal working conditions of his sub ordinates; he showed his inability to arrange any better accommodation or food for them as he is himself is a guest of local police. He said sarcastically, “even I am not residing in SerenaHotel myself,” looking towards the five star hotel in front of their point of duty.
Talking to another policeman, who was standing on Embassy Road as to how will he tackle the marching crowd, he smiled and waved his baton into air and said “look! I have only this in my hand, how do I tackle any one with it?” I think it will be the Army and rangers who can stop them marching towards the Parliament House, we poor policemen cannot do anything about it, he further added.
A jawan of the Punjab Police Elite Force however showed his resolve to perform his duty with zeal and zest. “I am to do my duty and follow the orders of my seniors; I don’t care who it is on the other side.” The government pays to me for doing police duty and those police men who are lethargic and unwilling should become teachers or anything, this police job is as tough as you like and I am up for it, he told excitedly.
However, he admitted that there are only few police men who are energetic and duty bound like himself.
At Express Chowk near the Constitution Avenue, a police constable said that he is 59-years-old and going to retire next year. He blamed his senior officer for sending him here as a punishment. “I just want to finish my service peacefully and get pension, I am not interested what happens on August 14 in Islamabad; I will save my life first and then comes the duty, my bones cannot survive the rigour of fighting with mob,” he told almost breaking into tears.
With the Police force having low morale and no motivation to face the mobs, much will depend upon the Army, FC and Rangers personnel to keep the things under control on August 14. However, it is unknown yet how the high commands of these military forces are looking at the situation and what orders will be given to their troops deployed to defend the all important Parliament House.
Almost every entry and exit point of Islamabad has been supplied with containers and these can be used any time tonight to block the passage of vehicles and pedestrians.
Along with containers, the federal government has called nearly 8000 police force from Punjab and Azad Kashmir to handle the long march.
To sum up it all, a constable from Khanewal District said jokingly “they [the government] have bothered us for nothing; they should have trusted the containers more than the police constables.” But it is not certain how the soulless containers will tackle the advance of mobs riding high on their emotions.