ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is planning to enforce a comprehensive surveillance system using an effective barcode system to curb terrorism and organised crime, Attorney-General Ashtar Ausaf Ali told The Express Tribune.
The system — which will achieve full coverage over the next three years — is to be launched soon.
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Ausaf Ali told The Express Tribune that the nationwide system would mainly help security and law-enforcement agencies in combating terrorism, financial corruption and other crimes.
Meanwhile, an official of the law ministry, who is familiar with the plan, said that all provincial governments have also been asked to submit their recommendations for the scheme. Refusing to discuss the financial cost of the new electronic surveillance system, the official said: “It will not cost much if it is applied with honesty.”
The system, he said, would yield “marvellous benefits”, besides making the system of governance more effective at district, provincial and federal levels.
Enumerating details of the plan, a senior government functionary said that all vouchers issued by government departments would be bar-coded, including Computerised National Identify Cards (CNICs), passports, railways and airlines tickets, bank accounts, driving, arms and other licenses, vehicles registration plates.
All these articles, he said, would carry a unique barcode, identifying full details of the holders.
According to him, the new system would also help create an effective mass traffic surveillance system, enabling traffic police and other security organisations to effectively monitor the movement of vehicles at all traffic signals in major cities and towns, keeping tabs on offenders’ whereabouts at all times.
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Focusing on capacity-building of the police force across the country, he said that it was essential for the scheme to yield better results.
“Provincial police administrations will have to make their own arrangements in this regard,” the official maintained.
Initially, he said, the system would be enforced in the federal and provincial capitals, adding that it would be expanded to cover other cities and towns at a later stage. Business centres, he said, would be encouraged to develop their own barcode mechanism to monitor robbers and miscreants.
According to him, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan had also decided to introduce barcode system for curbing spurious drugs.
Legislation in this regard was in the final stage and the proposal to introduce the bar coding had already been examined by standing committees on National Health Services, Regulation and Co-ordination.
The official said that no further legislation would be needed to introduce the surveillance system to check terrorism and organised crimes.
“Only procedural arrangements will be sufficient for the implementation of the plan,” he said. The barcode system will utilise a network of hardware and software, primarily of mobile computers, printers, handheld scanners and other infrastructure.
The system would also be used to automate data collection where hand recording was neither timely nor cost effective.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2016.