There are several closed-circuit surveillance cameras installed in the red zones in Karachi but hardly a few of them work, admitted Sindh IGP on Thursday.
A large amount of money was spent on beefing up security in this part of the city - which houses residences and offices of government officials but a planted bomb exploded in the neighbourhood on Wednesday and killed nine men. Justice Maqbool Baqar, who was the target, miraculously survived.
Sindh High Court chief Justice Mushir Alam held a meeting on Thursday with Sindh IGP Shahid Nadeem Baloch, Rangers director-general Rizwan Akhtar and chief secretary Ejaz Chaudhry to review the security arrangements in place for judges and the high court building. It was in this meeting that the IGP admitted that the cameras have been out of order for quite some time.
According to an official who attended the meeting, Justice Alam was concerned about the worsening law and order situation in the city and called it a failure of the law enforcement agencies. More than one hundreds convicts, who were sentenced to death by the courts, were still kept in prisons across the province, he pointed out, adding that court orders become redundant when they are not implemented. The chief secretary assured him that the delays in the execution of death sentences would be taken up, adding that some political elements are behind the delays in execution of at least 135 convicts on death row in Sindh.
Justice Alam suggested the government stop regularising slums, which have become prime hideouts for criminals. Officials quoted him telling the officials to bring millions of illegal immigrants under the legal cover. The chief justice also asked the chief secretary to get the Sindh Arms Act 2013 notified in the official gazette to make the new law practically applicable to deal with the issues of illicit arms.
SHC registrar Abdul Malik Gaddi informed the meeting that more than 200 close-circuit surveillance cameras had been installed at the high court’s building in Karachi with a cost of Rs16 million. All the cameras are fully operational and can cover the high court’s building through a visual surveillance network, he added. A high court security team that visited the cameras installed in the red zone did discover, however, that only a couple of them worked.
Justice Alam directed the police IG to deploy an SP-rank officer as the in-charge of security for the high court building and deploy efficient policemen on the premises. He also instructed the city administrator to immediately remove self-created unauthorised parking spaces and other encroachments, which pose serious security threat on the roads that leading to Saddar.
The Rangers director-general informed Justice Alam that the paramilitary force can respond to any emergencies at the high court within three to five minutes and cordon off the entire building strategically within this short span of time.
Chief secretary Ejaz Chaudhry assured that the provincial government would provide adequate security to the judges. A summary has also been sent to the chief minister with a request to equip the police force with GSM locators, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2013.
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