KARACHI: One thought that scenes from the Bourne series might be re-enacted in Karachi as Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced that the government had hired satellite-imaging experts to hunt down those responsible for target killings.
But Malik’s statement surprised many police and security officials as they were not sure whether such a satellite-imaging system exists or not.
Talking to the media at the CM House on Saturday, the interior minister had stated that experts through latest technology would identity the routes and locations of firing incidents and this would help the government monitor the movement of terrorists and other criminals. Upon identification, they could easily be arrested and if necessary, their hideouts could be demolished, he maintained.
Security officials told The Express Tribune that there was no such system available as yet.
Special Sindh home secretary Kamran Dost said, “I am not aware about such a system and I don’t think we have one.”
Maybe the government will install such a system in the future, but no one has consulted us yet, he claimed. However, he stressed on the need for a satellite-imaging system, which would be efficacious in controlling the volatile situation in the city.
“But we should assess whether we have the resources for it or not,” he said, suggesting that the government should consult the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC), which is directly involved in dealing with satellite images.
However, CPLC chief Ahmed Chinoy was also oblivious of such a satellite network. “This system works in different developed countries but I am not sure whether this exists in Pakistan,” he said. “I think intelligence agencies might have this kind of system, but I don’t think Karachi’s police have one.”
A senior police official, requesting anonymity, said, “I fail to understand how the government hired these satellite-imaging experts when there is no such system in place.”
Such a satellite-imaging system records the sounds of any bomb blast or firing and immediately captures images of incidents, he explained. “But I assure you that neither such a network exists nor will the government make any effort to get the technology,” he claimed. Some private companies also offer commercial satellite systems, but these are totally different from the systems mentioned by the interior minister.
Meanwhile, DIG headquarters Ghulam Nabi Memon said, “I don’t have any idea about it and only the interior minister can tell you who deals with this system.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2010.