PESHAWAR: In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the rest of the country, it is a growing trend to be escorted by armed guards in escort vehicles to impress or terrorize the general public.
This trend of roaming with large numbers of armed men posing as police officers is a question mark for the performance of police and other law enforcement agencies.
Police officers said action has been taken against such individuals and groups as no one should fear the hearts of law-abiding citizens by creating legal and regulatory issues.
The social media videos featured the new rich, escorted by a group of armed men driving to demo in vehicles with tinted glasses.
In the videos, these guards were seen charging out of vehicles and taking positions as they would when the Prime Minister or a VVIP arrives when these individuals are attending a funeral, wedding, or other well-attended social event.
These so-called VIPs are guarded by dozens of armed men in uniforms similar to those of the police and the Frontier Constabulary. Such people are accompanied by armed men to terrorize people, to commit land grabbing and other economic crimes.
The sources added that some of them are taking videos of this show-off and uploading it on various social media forums to impress the public.
They added that some of these people also have police officers on guard, giving the impression that the armed forces or the government have given them their blessing.
“These people meet politicians, bureaucrats and police officers and make videos or take photos to display in their hujras or upload them to social media to impress local police officers and the public,” the sources added.
The sources said many of the vehicles they use for travel or escort also carry blue and red lights that can only be used by police and law enforcement agencies.
This trend has reached alarming levels in KP and other provinces. Aside from KP, videos of people from Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh have gone viral on social media where they are watched by large numbers of people in multiple support vehicles. “Few of them have been detained or warned in the past few months, and so the culture is still promoted,” the sources say.
“SHOs and officers on duty avoid stopping these convoys or shaking hands with the groups, as the chiefs usually do not take a position. Even a SHO was suspended in Nowshera on Sunday despite being on duty, ”said a junior officer.
He added that if a person is exposed to a serious threat, they should be given permission to keep one or two private armed men in an appropriate blue uniform that security companies allow, and with licensed weapons that are not on public display should be asked.
It must be forbidden to wear police and FC like a uniform by the private guards who carry unlicensed weapons.
A number of groups involved in blood feuds also promote gun culture and terrorize the common people by brandishing guns in public. There have been a number of blood feuds in Peshawar and other Khyber Pakhtunkhwa districts that began years ago over minor problems and claimed dozens of lives on both sides.
There are reports that some of these heavily armed groups are actively involved in crimes, assisting and assisting criminals, stealing land, and molesting innocent people by deliberately wielding weapons in public.
The sources said that after years of hostility, they are unable to get regular jobs and business and need to find ways to run their kitchen as well as manage ammunition and guards.
The blood feuds and gun culture of many people are causing inconvenience to the entire population in the respective areas due to the feeling of insecurity.
The Peshawar Police Department spokesman said the police have repeatedly taken action against such groups, and action has recently been taken against a Patwari and Malik family for such a demonstration.
“This is indeed an important issue that needs to be addressed. We will take action against anyone who wields weapons on public or social media forums or who spread terror through these escort vehicles in urban, rural or suburban areas. Nobody is above the law, ”said spokesman Mohammad Ilyas.
The officer denies any police officers have been placed on guard against these people, but said the force will check to see if this has happened anywhere.
“They use guards in militia uniforms, but that’s illegal too. Some of them use old FIRs where they were attacked or threatened as an excuse to keep these guards. But nobody is allowed to use it for demonstration or, above all, to spread terror, “said the spokesman.