Police told to use rubber bullets to handle protest rallies

Pakistan on 23 June 2014
Location : Pakistan | Source : Dawn. Image Source: Dawn

After the police were accused of using automatic weapons to disperse Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) activists in Lahore, the inspector general of the Punjab police issued a fresh standard operating procedure (SOP) to all the regional police chiefs directing them to use rubber bullets for handling protest rallies.

“The rubber bullets shall be fired only when the mob goes out of control and becomes violent,” the IGP stated in a letter. The letter dated June 19, containing the guidelines, was issued to all the regional police officers.

The IGP said unlawful assemblies and protesters shall be given warning and directed to disperse by the senior-most officer leading the police on the occasion.

“In case of disobedience and resistance, the use of force shall be made with due caution and as per provision of the law, starting from warning to the crowd to disperse and thereafter resorting to tear gas shelling,” the IGP said. If the participants of the unlawful rally again offered resistance and the tear gas shelling seemed to be ineffective, baton charge may be used on the direction of the senior police officer present on the occasion.

The IGP said the rubber bullets should be used only when the police officers feel that they might be seriously injured by the violent mob.

He further directed the police to use weapons in self defence on the order of the senior most police officer who should not be below the rank of an inspector. And the weapon should be used only when the police are attacked and there is an imminent threat to their lives.

The IGP said police officers carrying automatic weapons would stay with the gazetted officers who shall be responsible for their deployment in case of an extreme emergency.

“While resorting to an aerial firing in a grave situation, due caution shall be observed to avoid loss of lives.”

The IGP directed the divisional police chiefs to revive the police training schools in the police line headquarters so that the police reserves assigned shall be trained in handling mobs and weapons.

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