Pakistan

A plus category schools hire guards without security clearance in Punjab

A fresh security audit of 1,047 educational institutions in Punjab categorised as ‘A+’ has revealed that 446 security guards had been hired by them without a security clearance.

Of the 1,047 educational institutions, 269 were located in the Rawalpindi region followed by 205 in Lahore, 156 and 167 in Gujranwala and Multan regions, respectively. Besides, 43 were in Sahiwal, 45 in D.G. Khan and 47 in Bahawalpur.
The latest security audit was conducted in January across the province by an intelligence agency. It exposed loopholes in the security and suggested foolproof and stringent arrangements to ensure the safety of the educational institutions.
According to a security official, foreign, army schools and those having strength of 500 or more students are categorised as ‘A+’ while educational institutions with the strength of 250 to 500 students are put in the category ‘A’.
The standard operating procedure (SOP) for the foolproof security of the educational institutions issued by the Home Department was not being followed properly despite repeated security audits, the official added.
According to the audit, the security clearance of guards through the Special Branch was not conducted in 446 of the institutions in the ‘A+’ category, including 20 in Rawalpindi.
In 76 institutions in the same category, the guards were not trained by the police that was a security lapse and needed an improvement. The same lapse had been noticed in the last two surveys and brought into the notice of concerned authorities, said the official.
Of the 446 institutions, 158 were in Lahore, 144 in Gujranwala, 81 in Multan, 23 in Sheikhupura, 15 in Bahawalpur, four in D.G. Khan and one in Sahiwal. The same number and issues had been raised in the previous security audit conducted in December 2017. And over-aged guards were deployed in nine institutions.
Close circuit television cameras (CCTV) have not been installed in six institutions of category A+. Of these, five were in the Rawalpindi region. Besides, night vision CCTV cameras were missing in 43 institutions while 95 such cameras were found installed during the previous survey held in December.
Walk-through gates were yet to be installed in 262 institutions compared to 271 found in December, including 22 in Rawalpindi. Bunkers have not been constructed in 299 institutions and concrete barriers at the exit and entry points were missing in 161 institutions.
Search and sweeping of vehicles carrying students was also not being conducted in 194 institutions. And physical search of students before entering the institutions was not being carried out in 62 institutions. Armed security guards at vantage points were yet to be deployed in 199 institutions while 497 institutions had no snipers.
The audit indicated that 15 institutions were without boundary walls, 17 had no razor wire on the boundary walls. Besides, 53 institutions had no searchlights.
During the last survey, 44 institutions had been found without searchlights.
The vetting of Afghan nationals working as labourers in four educational institutions was not conducted while ‘panic buttons’ were inactive in 52 institutions. Non-functioning of weapons in 15 institutions was termed another issue to be resolved as a priority.

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