Security lapses: Bari Imam admin blames Auqaf for poor security

Scanner at entrance could not detect explosive material.


Maha Mussadaq June 03, 2014
Scanner at entrance could not detect explosive material.

ISLAMABAD:


Officials at the Bari Imam Complex held the Auqaf department responsible for the security lapse which allowed two kilogrammes of explosive material to be planted at the shrine. The explosives were found and removed on Wednesday evening without incident.


Earlier this week, Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali directed all SPs of Islamabad Police to prepare security reports with a special focus on Bari Imam and the Margalla Hills.

The very next day, two kg of explosive material was found in the vicinity of the Bari Imam Complex.

It has emerged that the lone scanner at the entrance the shrine, installed in 2007, is a metal detector and was not meant to detect explosive materials. According to reports, it did not even beep when a person walked through it.

A police official told The Express Tribune that an unidentified person walked through the scanner on Wednesday evening, claiming to be a construction worker. After placing the explosives, the perpetrator managed to slip away unnoticed. Only when some worshippers and workers became suspicious did the administration and police officials learn of the mysterious ‘construction worker’. The subsequent search led to the discovery of explosives at the site.

Senior Superintendent of Islamabad Police Operations Mohammad Ali Nekorata told The Express Tribune that a case has been registered at the Secretariat Police Station against the contractor and the people who received the explosives and legal action would be taken against them. He added that the explosives were taken in on the pretext of blowing up rocks, which was not a requirement of the construction work in the first place.

With the shrine shuts down for days, sources in the Bari Imam administration blamed the Complex on the negligence of the Auqaf Department.

An official from the Bari Imam administration, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that multiple requests had been sent to Auqaf to fix the scanner, but to no avail.

Meanwhile, “They say they have installed CCTV cameras, but the cameras are out-of-order all the time,” the official alleged.

New security arrangements

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Islamabad Auqaf DDO Abdul Sattar Essani said 22 CCTV security cameras have been installed at the complex.

A police official told The Express Tribune that all the side entrances for the complex have been shut. Worshippers are only being allowed in through one gate with tight security checks.

He said that officials have been deployed behind the shrine area as well and that regular patrolling is being conducted to keep the shrine and its surroundings protected.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2014.

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