Pakistani Police Work On Despite Taliban Threat

Posted on November 6, 2009

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CNN

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Assistant Sub Inspector Anwar Ali starts his day with a prayer. He needs all the help he can get.

Anwar is a police officer — part of Pakistan’s increasingly vulnerable “thin blue line.” Pakistan’s men in blue are a police force under siege.

When he sets out for work on a small motorcycle, his family watches from the terrace of his small, three-bedroom apartment, praying he will come back in one piece.

“My family doesn’t go to sleep until I return home from being on duty,” Anwar says.

Militants have attacked the Pakistani police with car bombs and suicide bombs more than 300 times in the past three years, said Sajid Kiani, superintendent of police in Islamabad. The Islamabad police have been particularly hard hit.

“During the last two and a half years we had around 41 martyrs who laid [down] their lives in different attacks and more than 40 were injured,” Kiani said, listing the casualty statistics for Islamabad’s police force.

Anwar knows the risks all too well.

Last summer he almost died when a suicide bomb was detonated in Islamabad’s Rescue 15 police station, the compound where police units deploy on emergency calls coming from the public.

“I was taking off my uniform to unwind because my shift had just ended,” Anwar recalls. “Suddenly there was a blast. Two of my comrades died and I was wounded and taken to the hospital. I woke up three days later in the intensive care ward.”

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