Amid the wave of recent terrorist attacks in the country, law enforcement agencies have initiated counter-terrorism measures across the country. Military and civilian intelligence agencies have arrested several terrorists and their facilitators in different parts of the country. Police have once again become the centre point of the debate about curbing terrorism in the country.

Without any evident doubt, police have made noble sacrifices in the war on terror. Police troops are the key target of the terrorists and militants in the country due to anti-terrorism operations of the police.

There is a long tale of sacrifices and effective initiatives taken by police as the first line of defence against terrorism. Recently, two brave officers

Recently, two brave officers DIG Ahmed Mubeen, and SSP Zahid Gondal embraced martyrdom in a deadly suicide attack in Lahore while both officers were present on the ground to offer their duties. A few years ago, DIG Fayaz Sumbal embraced martyrdom in Quetta in the suicide attack. Police corporals, low ranked officers, and administrative staff were also targeted in different areas of Pakistan. Despite the horrific circumstances and heinous consequences, police troops never refused to offer their duties.

#1 Why are terrorists targeting police?

War on terror is the on-going, complex and guerrilla war being continued in all parts of the country.

Militant groups want to dismantle the security apparatus of the country by carrying out attacks against the state institutions. They want the society to succumb to their narrative of intolerance and extremism.

After the establishment of urban slipper cells in major cities of the country, terrorist organizations regard the police as the primary obstacle and hurdle in the enforcement of their designated ideology in the country.

An army lives in secluded barracks, but police always maintain contact with the local population.

Like every modern nation state, police also protect the lives, property, and honour of citizens by enforcing the law in society. Police are the only law enforcement organ which has roots in public with the ability to place the check on growing influx of extremism in society.

Police have many brave and competent officers like Nasir Durrani, Haider Ashraf, Umer Khitab, Ayyaz Saleem, Jahanzeb Khan, Sohail Zafar Chatha and many others.

#2 What facilities must be given to police?

Police need endless public support and appreciation from common people because militants aren't the foreign enemy, but Pakistani citizens hiding inside public places. Police need counter-terrorism training and supportive intelligence from other intelligence agencies especially military intelligence agencies. The government has recently called upon paramilitary troops to launch combative operations against terrorists, but it won't provide any effective result without strengthening the police institution and boosting up the morale of police force.

After 9/11, effective measures were taken to increase the capability and strength of the police instead of giving policing powers to paramilitary and military forces. France, United Kingdom, and Germany adopted the same strategy. Police order 2002 must be implemented in true spirit because it contains all the remedies for policing problems. Political fraternity and intelligentsia must support the efforts of police.

Meaningful "de-politicization" and extensive "autonomy" is essential for extension of anti-terrorism efforts of police. After 1996 Karachi operation, the police force was left to the whims of terrorists due to political objectives which proved counterproductive for peace of Karachi in future.

The head of the police department must be given full autonomy and independence. The counter-terrorism department of police must be provided advanced training and needed resources. Police must be freed from unnecessary tasks given by political and administrative machinery.