Following reports of security threats to educational institutes, the Sindh government has directed the Rangers and police to set up additional check posts, deploy rapid response forces near school buildings and start consultative meetings with school managements.
A meeting held at CM House on Thursday also decided that law enforcement agencies should start patrolling in morning and evening shifts, equip schools with licenced arms, screen school staff and urge managements to keep entry and exit points of the premises clear and checked.
The coordination of intelligence agencies and sharing of information must also be made more effective, said Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah while presiding over the meeting.
"We cannot allow the enemies of our nation to destroy our future generation," said Shah.
Briefing the meeting, Rangers director-general Maj Gen Bilal Akbar said the law enforcement agencies' strategy is to take effective precautionary measures. "These preventive measures include the installation of CCTV cameras connected to the main command and control centre, community involvement in security arrangements, activation of boys/girls scouts with necessary training, instant deployment of Rangers and police rapid response teams and launching of Rangers and police mobiles and motorcycles patrols around educational institutes," he said.
He said he had prepared a list of schools requiring more security. "We [the police, Rangers and home secretary] will sit together and share the list and work out a security strategy," he explained, adding that, "These are our children and we know how to protect them". He assured the meeting that they have enough manpower, so there is no need to worry.
Education secretary Fazullah Pechuho said he had developed an SMS system in which all the government schools' headmasters, senior teachers and other relevant staff are connected. The CM directed him to expand this system to include heads of private school as well.
After the restoration of law and order in the city, citizens have developed confidence in the Rangers, police and the government, said Shah. "It becomes our responsibility to meet the expectation of the citizens. It is our responsibility to protect them," he declared.
Sindh IG Ghulam Hyder Jamali informed the meeting that there are over 15,000 educational institutes of different categories, such as armed forces' schools, missionary, Cambridge system and government educational institutions, in the city. "The armed forces' schools have their own security system. The Cambridge system schools also have their security system but the police and Rangers give them special security cover," he said. "Government and private universities have also made security arrangements," he said and added that their security system was not very strong. Therefore, it must be beefed up according to the ground reality, he said.
South DIG Dr Jameel Ahmed said school walls should be at least eight to 10 feet high, with watch towers, CCTV systems, centralised alarm systems and security scanning by the staff working there.
Sindh chief secretary Muhammad Siddique Memon, who is also the Scouts chief, said there were more than 160,000 scouts in Sindh. "I will personally chalk out a plan or [devise] the training necessary to combat terrorist attacks," he claimed, vowing that the scout trainers would be from the Pakistan Army.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2016.