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Move to modernise police weapons in view of city’s security needs

Pakistan on 03 June 2014
Location : Karachi | Source : Dawn. Image Source: Dawn

The conventional weapons which have been in the use of the police force for the past two decades will finally be replaced with their improved version, as the authorities believe they remain less effective in the city that has become increasingly militarised over the years, it emerged on Monday.

A recent visit by Sindh police chief Iqbal Mahmood Khan to the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) in Wah cantonment is seen in line with the preparation for the procurement of the latest weaponry for the police. Sources said the inspector-general of police was briefed about the ‘enhanced versions’ of assault arms which have been designed keeping in view current violence trends and policing demands.

“There is a consensus in the police hierarchy on enhancement of weapons version,” said an official while referring to the objective and outcome of the recent meeting between the Sindh police and POF — the country’s largest arms production facility — authorities.

“The police authorities have also proposed to their arms producers and suppliers to help them in introducing better arms which are easy to carry and move. The assault rifles currently being used by policemen definitely serve the purpose, but their versions needed to be enhanced.”

Currently, the official added, the city police used sub-machine guns (calibre 7.62mm), AK-47 assault rifles, commonly known as Kalashnikov, and G-3 rifles. He said the 9mm submachine gun of MP-5 was already in use of some police units.

“The Sindh IG was briefed about the latest models and designs of G-3 and MP-5 rifles, which are likely to be introduced in the Karachi police,” the official hoped, explaining that the rifle butts in the new models had been designed in a way that made their handling easy.

“The procurement in the upcoming police budget [2014-15] will be made in line with the recent proposals, which include improved version of arms,” he said.

The arms experts in the Sindh police were also helping the institution in ascertaining the kind of guns needed for policing mainly in Karachi.

The proposal was also confirmed by the Sindh IG Khan who in a brief response to Dawn said the policing challenges in Karachi required a better-equipped force in the city, where criminal gangs were armed with the latest weapons and technology.

“So we have plans for equipping our force with modern gadgets and arms which meet policing demand. They should be more effective and easy to handle,” he added.

Armoured vehicles

Apart from the latest weapons, the Sindh police are also in the final phase of acquiring armoured personnel carriers (APCs) to expand their existing fleet comprising 79 vehicles, said another official.

“Right now, they are 62 wheeled and 17 tracked APCs. Twenty-eight wheeled APCs are in the use of the Karachi police, which have been built at the B-6 protection level,” he said.

“The B-6 armouring is a level of protection that can defeat multiple 7.62x51mm standard assault rifle rounds. Considering the history of armed clashes in Karachi, the B-6 armoured vehicle did not serve the purpose of policing in the metropolis,” the official said.

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