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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Police training centres without proper security arrangements

 Four training centres situated on city’s outskirts, have decrepit boundary walls 
* Thokar Niaz Baig centre has two policemen protecting 500 unarmed trainee traffic wardens 
* No CCTV, entry register at Bedian training centre for Elite Force

By Abdul Manan

LAHORE: The police training centres of the city do not have proper security arrangements, sources in the Police Department told Daily Times on Monday.

Apart from the Police Training School (PTS) at Chuhng, the other four police training centres are established on the outskirts of the city, with only one boundary wall each and open fields on the other three sides. 

Outskirts: The training centres on the outskirts of the city include PTS Multan Road, LOS Traffic Warden Line at Thokar Niaz Baig, Bedian Police Training Centre and Police Training School Manawan on GT Road. The Thokar Niaz Baig centre is the training centre for refresher courses of the City Traffic Police. It is situated on an area of 30 acres, and around 500 wardens live on the campus. Sources in the centre told Daily Times the centre’s boundary wall was in dilapidated condition. 

Two policemen: They said only two policemen were deployed at the centre’s main gate, and they were given the task of protecting 500 unarmed wardens – with two old guns. They said barriers in deteriorated condition were placed at the main gate, which were not sufficient protection against any attacks. They said sometimes only one policeman was present at the gate. They said terrorists could easily target them in this ‘cage’. They said no register was kept at the entrance, and there was no record of visitors. 

The Bedian Training Centre is located some 5 kilometres from the Wagha border. It is situated on 350 acres, and has no boundary wall. Its building and training grounds cover around 13 acres. Around 1,000 Elite personnel get training at this centre. Besides the Elite Force personnel, the personnel of Punjab Police and patrolling police also get short-term training courses at this centre. Sources in the Bedian Training Centre told Daily Times they went through 16 hours of physical training at the centre, and some of them also had to perform the additional duty of guarding the centre at night. 

No camera, register: They said there was no surveillance camera or entrance register at the main gate. They said there was not even a map of the building in the training centre. They said an artificial thick forest surrounded the main gate, and there were no walls surrounding the centre. They said criminals could very easily hide themselves in the forest. 

The Police Training School Manawan, which is under construction, has been established in place of an old transport depot owned by the government. Some 1,000 Punjab Police personnel do their 9-month training at this centre. PTS Chuhng is one of the oldest police training institutions in Punjab. The school is supposed to accommodate some 860 trainees at a time. However, sources in the school said the actual number of trainees at the school was often much greater. An official of the school told Daily Times 10 trenches had been dug at the school to defend against any possible attack. He said a complete record of visitors was kept. 

Chief Traffic Officer Shariq Kamal Siddique told Daily Times he would enhance the security at the LOS Centre at Thokar Niaz Baig. Training Additional Inspector General of Police Abdul Ghaffar Mian told Daily Times he could not comment as he was busy at the Manawan training school.

Lahore 'was Pakistan Taleban op

The chief of the Pakistani Taleban, Baitullah Mehsud, has told the BBC his group was behind Monday's deadly attack on a police academy in Lahore.

He said the attack was "in retaliation for the continued drone strikes by the US in collaboration with Pakistan on our people".

He also claimed responsibility for two other recent deadly attacks.

Baitullah Mehsud said the attacks would continue "until the Pakistan government stops supporting the Americans".

Security officials are interrogating at least four suspects captured after the attack, police say.

 We will continue our attacks until the Pakistan government stops supporting the Americans 
Pakistan Taleban chief Baitullah Mehsud

Eighteen people, including two civilians, eight policemen and eight militants, were killed and 95 people were injured during the eight-hour battle to wrest back control of the academy, the interior ministry says.

Pakistan's interior minister earlier identified the Taleban as well as other extremist groups as possible perpetrators, and suggested a foreign state could also be involved.


Baitullah Mehsud is the supreme commander of the Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan (Movement of Taleban in Pakistan) organisation.

He operates out of a stronghold in the Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan.

Speaking to the BBC by phone, he also claimed responsibility for two other attacks:

  • A suicide attack on a security convoy, also on Monday, near the town of Bannu in North West Frontier Province, which killed seven security personnel
  • An attack on the offices of an intelligence agency in Islamabad on 25 March

But he denied responsibility for the bombing of a mosque in north-west Pakistan on 27 March, in which at least 50 people died.

Baitullah Mehsud warned the attacks would continue as long as Pakistan continued "supporting the Americans".

Such attacks are indeed expected to increase in line with the newly announced US strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, says the BBC's Barbara Plett in Lahore.

Different Taleban factions in the border region, including Baitullah Mehsud's, have joined forces in readiness to confront the planned American troop increase in Afghanistan, she says.