Trains to install ‘SOS’ buttons for women to foil rape attempt

PM to review safety measures for women passengers on trains

BILAL GHAURI June 06, 2022
Heads of states of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan appealed in a letter to the World Bank to finance the railway project. photo: REUTERS


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will review the safety measures installed at railway stations and in trains to prevent sexual harassment against women passengers on Monday (today).

Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, Inspector General (IG) of Railway Police Faisal Shahkar and Additional General Manager Amir Baloch will give a briefing to the prime minister on the steps undertaken to protect female passengers from sexual harassment.

According to sources, a mobile phone application would be launched to ensure the safety of women and to enable timely action. Instructions regarding the procedure of downloading the application would be given on the railway tickets.

A Video Surveillance System (VSS) would also be installed at all railway stations, in addition to CCTV cameras to rein in crimes against women. Besides, a Face Recognition Camera (FRS) App would also be designed to trace and identify criminals.

The app is likely to be introduced across the country with immediate implementation after the prime minister’s briefing, sources added.

In addition to introducing modern technology in trains, male and female police sub-inspectors will be deployed to provide protection to ordinary women in general and women who use cheap travel to work and college in particular.

The police personnel would be available around the clock to assist in resolving any issues at railway stations and trains and would notify the control in a timely manner in case of trouble.
Furthermore,  emergency ‘SOS’ buttons would also be installed in all trains for women to seek help in case of sexual harassment or rape attempt.

For awareness regarding women's safety, a campaign will be launched through posters, pamphlets, and handbills. Announcements will also be made at railway stations across the country, whereas the campaign's messages will also be broadcast electronically.

Last week, in the wake of a heinous incident of alleged gang rape on a Karachi-bound train, Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms Implementation Unit (SRIU) had directed the Pakistan Railways authorities to improve the security procedures for the safety of the women travelling by trains.

PM Shehbaz has also directed SRIU head Salman Sufi to work closely with police to ensure the safety of women passengers at railway stations, bus stands, motorways and national highways.

On Friday, a judicial magistrate remanded in Railway police custody three suspects for the rape in the Bahaudin Zakaria Express.

The suspects, all employees of the privately-run train, have been held for sexually assaulting the 25-year-old victim on May 27.

The incident had sent shockwaves across the country soliciting condemnations and concerns from civil society, especially women who feared that the incident had further intensified the sense of insecurity among women.


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