On July 25th Prime Minister Imran Khan will likely inaugurate Pakistan’s first National Emergency helpline, 911. The concept is inspired by The US’s helpline, which is also 911.
It is only a tentative deadline for the inauguration of the multi-billion scheme named Pakistan Emergency Help Line (PEHL), combining all the emergency service numbers into one.
The idea was first put forward after the infamous Lahore-Sialkot Motorway rape case when a woman was gang-raped in September. After the incident, the woman failed to get help from any government departments due to ‘jurisdiction disputes.’
During the investigation, it was concluded that even though multiple helplines were functioning, people were confused as to which department was authorized to deal with such an incident. The National Highways and Motorway Police and the Lahore police couldn’t agree upon jurisdiction at where the incident took place.
To avoid any such situations in future cases, the idea was put forward to launch Pakistan’s first singular toll-free helpline number that people of all provinces will be able to access.
In an interview, Adil Safi, Deputy Secretary at the Prime Minister House, said, “All modalities have been finalised in a series of meetings held with the provinces to establish the first national emergency helpline 911.”
National emergency helpline 911 likely to ring in on July 25
— Developing Pakistan (@developingpak) June 12, 2021
Experts studied models of universal helplines in multiple countries, such as the UK and US, before developing one suited for Pakistan. The number was initially proposed to be ‘786,’ but then it was replaced by 911.
The national helpline number will be established under the Ministry of Interior with its head office in the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in Islamabad, with multiple operators available at all times.
Mr. Sadi also said that “Initially, the four kinds of acute emergencies would be dealt with on the national helpline which would be related to the police, fire brigade, ambulance service and the National Highways and Motorway Police.” He also added, “This helpline number can be dialed through mobile phones from any part of the country to avail oneself of various services even if the handler (caller) has no access to the network.”
The government has also sought support from all mobile phone companies operating in Pakistan to ensure a smooth transitioning process to ensure a better law and order situation.