Islamabad: The Pakistan government is set to roll out a national emergency helpline, similar to the 911 helpline in the United States, on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The decision has been taken in the wake of the gang rape of a woman in front of her children on Lahore-Sialkot motorway on September 9. After her car broke, the woman made a desperate call to motorway police but the rescue came too late.
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Khan has asked the PM Delivery Unit (PMDU) to complete work on the emergency helpline within two months. “A separate network will be established for the National Emergency Helpline, accessible from across the country. In case of emergency, a toll-free number will be available for the public and all existing emergency helplines in the country will be linked to the new system”, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
One dedicated helpline
All the emergency helpline numbers such as Rescue 1122, highways and motorway police, hospitals and other call services of the country would be linked to the new system to make it more efficient and help the people in distress.
The dedicated emergency response number would merge all the emergency service numbers into one. It can be dialled it to avail different services including police, ambulance, and other rescue and support so that the citizens will not have to go through different helplines during emergencies.
Support from mobile companies and App
All provinces would be taken on board to simultaneously launch the helpline across the country. Reports suggest the government would also seek support from the mobile companies to ensure the smooth implementation of the service. Besides the toll-free helpline, the government is also mulling over introducing a mobile app that the rescue centres and police can use to track the location of people in emergency and reach them promptly.
Pakistanis have appreciated and termed it a step in the direction of improving the state of security, particularly for women, but called for “prompt, effective and transparent” rescue services.