PESHAWAR -- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police recently launched a Police Information Network (PIN) to encourage the public to give information on terrorist and extremist activities. The programme will provide rewards for useful tips.
"The project is being launched in Peshawar," a KP Police superintendent, Sohaib Ashraf, told Central Asia Online. "It will be extended to the rest of the province."
Under the PIN system anyone may text the deputy inspector general (DIG) of the Special Branch, DIG of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) or senior superintendent of police (SSP) for Operations in Peshawar to share information about the presences of any terrorist in his or her area, Ashraf said.
"Under PIN, any citizen of Peshawar can earn up to Rs. 100,000 (US $950) for providing information to senior officers about extortionists, target killers, kidnappers or any other terrorists or their facilitators," said Ashraf, who serves as Kohat district police officer.
The smallest reward under PIN will be US 10,000 (US $95.). Rewards depend on the significance of the targeted terrorist and credibility of the information.
PIN to engage public in counter-terrorism efforts
KP Police officials decided during a high-level meeting in the last week of May to launch PIN, Ashraf said.
KP Inspector General of Police Nasir Khan Durrani chaired the meeting, which included heads of the KP Police's counter-terrorism and intelligence wings.
PIN is likely to help reverse a recent surge in targeted killings and extortion in KP, police say.
PIN ensures anonymity and safety
"The aim of launching PIN was to obtain valuable intelligence ... while ensuring that [our sources] will not be harmed," Ashraf said.
To protect sources' confidentiality, the senior police officer in the Special Branch, CTD or Peshawar Police will personally administer PIN, according to a KP Police handout issued at the endof May.
After any of those high-ranking officers receives a citizen's text, he or she is supposed to personally call the source for further information.
Projects resembling PIN already are helping police around the world fight terrorism.
Public 'response is growing', officials say
Starting in the first week of June, KP Police launched a public awareness campaign about PIN. It includes circulating banners, posters and other literature regarding PIN.
"People have begun sending messages to share information," Peshawar Capital City Police Officer Mubarak Zeb told Central Asia Online.
Most information coming in now is about common crimes, but "we hope that people will soon provide relevant information about terrorists, target killers, extortionists and those facilitating them in any way," Zeb said. "The response is growing."
The project will help eliminate terrorism and crime as long as sources are protected, members of the public say.
"People mostly fear retaliation from terrorists," Irfan Ali, a Peshawar union council (township) councillor, told Central Asia Online.
"Many posters and banners stress that the identity of anyone helping police will not be leaked," Peshawar shopkeeper Sajid Mohammad told Central Asia Online. "This will help police the most."