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Featured National emergency helpline 911 likely to ring in on July 25


Apr 16, 2008
National emergency helpline 911 likely to ring in on July 25

Asif ChaudhryPublished June 12, 2021 - Updated about 5 hours ago

A rape incident had prompted Prime Minister Imran Khan to launch Pakistan’s first toll-free helpline number. — Photo courtesy: PM's Instagram/File's Instagram/File

A rape incident had prompted Prime Minister Imran Khan to launch Pakistan’s first toll-free helpline number. — Photo courtesy: PM's Instagram/File

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to inaugurate the country’s first national emergency helpline – 911-- on July 25.
It is said to be a tentative deadline to inaugurate the multi-billion scheme named Pakistan Emergency Help Line (PEHL), merging all the emergency service numbers into one. The Prime Minister Secretariat derived this concept from USA’s helpline 911 to give the proposed scheme ‘PEHL’ the national identity.

The work to establish the national helpline began after the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway rape case in which a woman had to go through a trying ordeal and failed to get through any helpline and seek help of government departments due to ‘jurisdiction dispute’. The woman was gang-raped in front of her children in September last year, prompting Prime Minister Imran Khan to launch Pakistan’s first toll-free helpline number that will be accessed by people of all the provinces to avoid any such incident in future.

During investigation into the gang-rape incident, it was realised that many helplines were functioning at a time but people were confused which one to go for in any particular area to seek emergency help from the department concerned. The National Highways and Motorway Police and the Lahore police also were at variance about the area of jurisdiction where the crime had been committed.

“All modalities have been finalised in a series of meetings held with the provinces to establish the first national emergency helpline 911,” national focal person for the helpline Adil Safi told Dawn. Mr Safi, who is the deputy secretary at the Prime Minister House, said the last and important meeting with the provinces in this respect would be held next week to give nod to the PM’s scheme.

Before launching the country’s first helpline, experts studied models of the universal helplines of the UK, the USA and some other countries. He said initially the experts proposed ‘786’ as Pakistan’s national helpline number but later it was replaced by 911.

The national helpline number has been established under the Ministry of Interior with its head office in the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in Islamabad. The helpline will be run by many operators who will work from the Central Control Room at the NCOC office.

The provinces have been directed to establish control rooms in their respective jurisdictions by making appointment of ‘huge brigade’ of trained and qualified operators and other staff.

Mr Safi said all the existing emergency numbers would be linked with the national helpline under the proposed scheme. The staff would receive all emergency calls at the central control room from where they would transfer them to the departments concerned for speedy action.

“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,” said the focal person. “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,” he said.

All the emergency calls would be attended ‘directly and live’ by the deputed staff who would transfer the same to the officials concerned for speedy action.

A unique feature has been incorporated in the new system under which a ‘red light’ would keep giving an alarm till the redress of the complaint and the caller’s satisfactory reaction is received against his plaint, he said.

Answering a question, he said the government had also sought support from the mobile phone companies to ensure the smooth implementation of the service besides taking the PTA and other departments on board.

A mobile app had also been made part of the facility to help the rescue centres and police trace the location of people in emergency and reach them promptly, Mr Safi said.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2021

National emergency helpline 911 likely to ring in on July 25 - Pakistan - DAWN.COM
Finally we are doing things which should have been done long ago. But thankfully we are doing it now. Although I don't agree with 911 number. For GOD sake stop copying
The only reason it was 911 because easy to remember no harm in it the important thing is the initiative and sincere effort cosmetic donot matter


Oct 13, 2020
All Pakistani phone numbers are tied to a CNIC, so finding and punishing prank callers shouldn't be too difficult.


May 20, 2021
Yes but would only resolve 10 % of the issue. The real issue is our Police Forces and Ambulance services and fire brigade lack both vehicles and patrol to respond to these calls. We seriously need to build up that capacity.

@PanzerKiel @RescueRanger @Balixd @Tipu7 @Sulman Badshah
To be honest the "Free" ambulance and health services in countries like Australia and Canada are also pretty shit! These guys have severe shortage of medical staff, emergency services and everything related! They priorities their response based on urgency and life death situation. Which means if you don't sound like dying, you can die on call and the operator will just ask you to wait. Same thing happens in ER, only nurses check you on arrival. You better be bleeding profusely or or nearly dead on arrival for you to get looked by a doctor. Otherwise a nurse would just take ur vitals and ask you to wait for 4-5 hours! Broken bone(s)/ severe pain/ severe exoskeletal issues etc. they won't even bat an eye! Will just ask you to wait till the doctor is free! Even when the ER doctor looks at you, and he feels to consult a specialist, God knows when the specialist is "Free" to look at you! They can hold you for further several hours! I'm speaking with personal experience. In Pakistan you will be given pain killer, X-rayed, plastered and out of ER within 2 hrs of a broken bone, probably quicker, but not in these countries. Middle class/ upper class can get more immediate and specialised health care in Pakistan as compared to these countries IMO! But for rural areas, small towns and lower class, the experience would be totally different though. Yes, it needs to be improved there.

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