‘CCTV cameras at airport incapable of storing footage beyond 25 days’

SHC directs ASF to produce details on capacity of CCTV system


Our Correspondent October 29, 2015
It has been revealed that CCTV camera footage at Jinnah International Airport can only be stored for 25 days, which can be considered a security lapse. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the incharge of the Airport Security Force's (ASF) information technology department to submit details on the recording capacity of the CCTV surveillance system installed at Jinnah International Airport.

A division bench, headed by Justice Irfan Saadat Khan, passed this direction upon being informed that the airport CCTV system lacked the capacity to store footage beyond 25 days.

Airport security system

The question of surveillance recordings storage arose when a petitioner approached the court against the detention of her husband. The petitioner, Wajeeda Yaqub Siddiqui, said her husband, Mirza Saud Ali Baig, was serving as an architect at Arex Consultants, Dubai. She recalled that on August, 31 he was deported to Karachi along with his family and reached the Karachi airport on September, 1.

Siddiqui narrated that "just when they reached the immigration counter some person wearing plain clothes detained my husband without disclosing any reason of arrest". Ever since, his whereabouts are not known, she stated, pleading to the court to order the Rangers, police, Civil Aviation and airport security authorities to disclose Baig's location.

In her petition, the Rangers DG, Sindh IG, regional director of the Civil Aviation Authority, ASF director, Airport police station SHO and others were named as respondents.

The question of airport security

At the last hearing, the judges had summoned the incharge of the ASF IT department along with the complete record of CCTV footages so that the men, who allegedly took away Baig, could be identified.

On Thursday, Zaigham Abbas, ASF's deputy director and incharge of IT department, appeared and categorically said that, as per the system installed at the airport, no back up of the CCTV footage is available beyond 25 days, as it is automatically deleted. It works on a first come, last deleted basis, the officer said.

Taking his statement on record, the judges asked the officer to furnish complete details and description in respect of what he had stated in the court as well as a certificate from the company, which had installed the system.

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The bench further directed that such information should come within a period of 15 days and adjourned the hearing till November 11.

Baig's missing brother

The same bench was informed by the police investigators that Mirza Saud Ali Baig is affiliated with a religious group.

Filing the progress report on a petition seeking the whereabouts of Mirza Mehmood Ali Baig, the investigator said he was constructing the bungalow for Dr Junaid Shah of the AO Clinic, when they disputed over the construction cost.

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Dr Shah sent a text message to Mehmood Ali Baig's wife, stating 'he had connections and can conduct raid any time'. Days after Mehmood went missing his supervisor/driver, Basharat, also went missing. An FIR is already lodged at the Darakhshan police station and efforts are underway for his recovery, the officer assured.

In view of the statement, the bench adjourned the hearing.

AVCC/CIA inspector suspended

The same bench, meanwhile, ordered the suspension of inspector Amjad Kalyar of the police's Anti-Violent Crime Cell/Crime Investigation Authority, in a case relating to disappearance of an Iqra University business student, Ali Raza, in April 2011.

Earlier, he was produced in custody following the issuance of a non-bailable warrant for his arrest in a case regarding alleged disappearance of a student. The court had repeatedly summoned him with records of biometric verification of the SIM card used by the kidnappers.

Aliya Parveen, Raza's mother, had alleged that the law enforcement agencies had kidnapped her 22-year-old son. Later, his kidnappers contacted them to pay ransom but the police failed to track them down.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2015.

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