PESHAWAR -- Pakistan has conferred top gallantry medals on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police for exhibiting extraordinary bravery while fighting terrorists.
Nine police officers received the President’s Police Medal (PPM) for Police Personnel, while 11 officers received the Quaid-e-Azam Police Medal (QPM) for showing extraordinary bravery in the line of duty.
Those two medals typically are awarded on Independence Day, August 14, by the president, upon recommendation from provincial governments and other relevant authorities.
Senior Superintendent of Police Sajjad Khan, who led several operations against militants in Swabi as a district police officer (DPO), was among the recipients of the PPM.
"Police carried out continuous operations all over Swabi to arrest a large number of militants and target killers who were threatening law and order," he told Pakistan Forward.
"The entire Swabi police played a key role in maintaining law and order and going after the militants and criminals," Khan said, adding that many of the criminals were killed in shoot-outs with police and other forces.
The police in Swabi who received the PPM and QPM exhibited extraordinary bravery on various occasions, he said.
Some officers did not live to see their awards. They include deceased PPM recipients Constable Khurram Shahzad, Constable Sajid Khan and Sub-Inspector Haider Shah.
Post-humous QPM recipients include Sub-Inspector Sultan Mahmood, Sub-Inspector Najeebullah, Constable Ameer Nawaz, Constable Munir Ahmad, Constable Adnan Aslam, Constable Abdul Qayum, Constable Jahanzeb and Constable Sabir Nawaz.
Buner DPO Khalid Hamdani is a living recipient of the QPM. On August 17, terrorists ambushed his convoy as it was travelling from Buner to Swat. Hamdani and his colleagues that day survived a bombing and gunfire.
Heroes among many brave police
"The force has thousands of brave officers who stood tall to the terrorists and defeated them all over the province," said KP Inspector General of Police Nasir Khan Durrani.
Those who received the top gallantry medals are the heroes of the force, he said.
"One of the station house officers awarded the medal was wounded during a seven-hour-long encounter with militants in Swabi in March 2015 and was taken to hospital," he told Pakistan Forward. "He returned to the scene after emergency treatment to defeat the terrorists."
The entire country is proud of the sacrifices of the fallen heroes of the force, he said.
"The force sacrifices officers from the rank of inspector general down to constable, but the morale of the officers always remains high, which speaks to their bravery," he said.
KP honours police
The KP government recently announced it would confer its own medals to police who do the most to improve law and order in their areas.
"We will not only give more incentives and facilities to the police force but will encourage them by launching our own provincial medals," said KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak during a Martyrs Day function on August 4 in Peshawar.
KP Police who received medals included the heroes who ended the terrorist attack on Bacha Khan University (BKU) in Charsadda in January. Four terrorists who scaled the university's boundary wall killed up to 20 students, teachers and staffers.
Police kept the death toll from resembling that of the Army Public School massacre in Peshawar in December 2014, which exceeded 140. They cleared the BKU campus and killed all four terrorists.
"One sub-inspector and two constables who exhibited extraordinary bravery during the episode have been awarded the PPM and QPM," Raza Mohammad Khan, a deputy superintendent of police, told Pakistan Forward.
The PPM and QPM have not been awarded since 2013 for various reasons; therefore, their conferral this year will boost police morale, observers say.
"Cash awards and certificates go to those who perform well, but police who perform extraordinarily well are recommended for the PPM and QPM," said Qaisar Khan, a Peshawar journalist and security commentator.
Giving the awards this year after that hiatus "will encourage those who have been doing well", he predicted.