Top court calls for screening out private guards

CJP asks Sindh govt to remain vigilant, warning of militants working in guise of security personnel

Naeem Sahoutara August 12, 2016
CJP asks Sindh govt to remain vigilant, warning of militants working in guise of security personnel. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the provincial authorities to evolve a mechanism for screening out private security guards on the off chance that they might be indulging in nefarious terrorist activities akin to the recent bomb blast at Quetta’s civil hospital.

While hearing the Karachi law and order suo motu implementation proceedings at SC’s Karachi Registry, the chief justice noted that militants could carry out terrorist activities at public places in the guise of security guards.

Trigger-happy security guards

“There may be some agents of RAW or Taliban,” CJP Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali noted, requesting the provincial authorities to exercise caution and be vigilant.

He also asked the IG police whether there was a mechanism in place for screening out security guards posted in public places.

Referring to the recent killings of more than 70 citizens in Quetta, the top judge noted that although 75 security guards were posted at the civil hospital, none of them had actually undergone training to cope with such incidents.

Another bench member, Justice Amir Hani Muslim, quickly made it clear that merely screening out private police guards must not absolve the police of their duties to protect the lives and properties of citizens.

The five-judge bench observed that there should be some mechanism in place for screening out individuals being recruited as security guards by private security companies and agencies.

The growing demand for private security

Earlier, advocate-general Barrister Zamir Ghumro, filed a review petition urging the court to allow the police force to maintain and operate its existing infrastructure of closed circuit cameras installed in the city till a new surveillance system was installed by the provincial government.

He recalled that the court had on July 28 directed the provincial chief secretary to ensure that funds were made available for the purchase of high-powered closed circuit TV cameras in the city.

The authorities had earlier approved Rs10 billion in funds for establishing a new highly upgraded CCTV and surveillance system with infrastructure and human resource. The allocated amount was to be released in phases, including in the current financial year, as per requirement.

IG AD Khawaja viewed that maintenance of the infrastructure which included associated network, data centres, command and control rooms, besides CCTV cameras was necessary. He informed the court that it may take nine months to replace the existing CCTV cameras with the new ones and pleaded the court to review its previous observations and allow them to maintain and operate the existing infrastructure for the time being.

Govt asks hospitals to hire private guards

Allowing his request the judges reviewed their previous order and directed the office to incorporate such correction in the record.

AG Ghumro also filed reports of IG regarding action taken against the officials posted at the Madadgar-15 over their negligence from duties the day Barrister Ovais Ali Shah, the son of the Sindh High Court Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah was kidnapped.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2016.


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