Off curriculum: Mock terrorists fire blank rounds at KU auditorium, prepare students for attacks

Published: February 4, 2016
Seminar on security threats facing University of Karachi held in collaboration with Sindh Police. PHOTO: NNI

Seminar on security threats facing University of Karachi held in collaboration with Sindh Police. PHOTO: NNI

KARACHI: A mock attack was held on Wednesday to brief the students of Karachi University (KU) about the steps to be taken in order to combat a possible terrorist attack on the varsity.

A seminar was also held on security threats and issues related to the security of the university in collaboration with the Sindh Police Special Security Unit (SSU) at the auditorium of the chemistry department. The auditorium was jam-packed with students of various departments, faculty members and employees of the varsity.

A practical demonstration of arms and ammunition was given to the audience by the chief tactical instructor of SSU, Major Muhammad Saleem. Later, mock terrorists held the people hostage in the auditorium by firing blank rounds, leaving the entire venue filled with smoke. The mock attackers were then killed by the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team of the SSU.

“We are the victims of terrorism,” said KU vice-chancellor Dr Muhammad Qaiser while addressing the students. “Especially, universities, colleges and schools are soft targets and are a vulnerable segment of the society.”

Meanwhile, Saleem briefed the audience about the measures they should take in the wake of a possible attack. He explained that if terrorists enter the premises and take people hostage, the victims should ‘do as they [terrorists] want you to do and wait until the security forces arrive’. He informed the audience that in case of an emergency, try giving first aid to the injured and then perform casualty evacuation.

He stressed that it is important to have a knowhow of the weapons in case of a terrorist attack. According to him, weapons can be lethal but what is more important is who the operator is.  He added that taser gun or electric-shock device is the most important tool for self-defence, especially for girls.

Saleem also gave a demonstration of various weapons used by security forces against terrorists. He explained the use of various guns from 9mm pistols and Kalashnikovs to sniper rifles and RPG-7. He talked about the range and impact of these arms and conducted a small exercise of weapon recognition for the students.

“The seminar was informative. Every school and university must arrange such seminars,” said Aleena, a biochemistry student. She added that she now knows what to do if any such emergency situation arises in the future.

Student adviser Dr Basit Ansari said that the objective of this seminar was to provide awareness to students and faculty members. He added that at a time when terrorists are attacking educational institutions, we should train and prepare our students for immediate and appropriate response.

“We are now able to know and understand what would have happened in the Army Public School attack in Peshawar when terrorists stormed the school and killed the young students,” said a physiology student, Naila.

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Elite police training centre in Razzakabad’s senior instructor Khurram Ali said, “We are not providing students with guns but all the students must know how to defend themselves and how can they protect others in any emergency situation around them.”

KU registrar Prof Dr Moazzam Ali Khan said that the varsity has hired the services of a private security company for the safety of students at the university premises. He also added that eight different places have been identified to build watchtowers and that 40 searchlights will be installed within the premises of the university. Khan added that the university will develop a control room to monitor the visuals of the 60 new closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras within the university premises.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th,  2016.

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