Fact-check: Fuel scarcity suspends Dolphin Police operations in Lahore?
Fuel paucity did force the Punjab police to cut down vehicles, but operations were only suspended for two days in October
Updated Wednesday Nov 08 2023
Misinformation about police in Lahore running out of petrol, due to non-payment of dues, and the operations of Punjab police’s Dolphin Force and Police Response Unit being suspended has accumulated hundreds of interactions on Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter.
“After PIA (Pakistan International Airline), fuel supply to the police has also been halted and the patrolling of the Dolphin Police and the Police Response Unit has been suspended in Lahore,” claimed a post shared on Facebook on October 27.
Identical claims took off the messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, as well here.
Fuel paucity did force the Punjab police to cut down vehicles used by its elite units, the Dolphin Force and the Police Response Unit (PRU), but operations were only suspended for two days and have resumed since then, three officials confirm.
Zohaib Nasrullah Ranjha, the superintendent of police in the Dolphin Force in Lahore, told Geo Fact Check over the phone that the petrol issue was “old news” that has already been addressed.
“Yes, a few weeks back there was a petrol issue,” he said, “We [the Punjab police] did run out of fuel. But the PRU never stopped working, only the Dolphin [Force] was affected.”
Ranjha explained that the Dolphin Force vehicles use high-octane fuel, which is expensive.
“Police throughout Pakistan are disbursed money to buy petrol,” he added, “When petrol prices go up, we can run out of money to buy additional litres of petrol. So, this is a perpetual issue.”
Ghazi Muhammad Salahuddin, the deputy inspector general of the Punjab police for finance and welfare in Lahore, also confirmed the same to Geo Fact Check.
He said that since there is a caretaker government in Punjab, it could only approve a financial budget for four months for the province of Punjab.
“We released the budget in July to the [police departments] but since the price of petrol kept hiking, the budget was exhausted by the end of the four months,” he said.
Salahuddin added that the Punjab police then asked the interim chief minister of Punjab for an additional Rs35 million for 10 days to meet its fuel expenses, which was granted.
Separately, Yaseen Butt, the public relations officer of the Dolphin Force, told Geo Fact Check that the Force in Lahore was only taken off-road for two days, on October 23 and 24, due to non-payment for fuel.
With additional reporting by Fayyaz Hussain.
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