LAHORE - Over 920 schools in Lahore still lack manual security checks as the police department face dearth of staff in the sprawling metropolis.
On a daily basis the field officers check security of only 115 to 125 schools out of total 1078 educational institutions, registered with the city police and being monitored through the central operations room.
One of the large LCD screens at the first-ever digital control room shows that out of total 1078 schools , at least 115 were checked and 963 were unchecked.
The high-tech nerve-center was established with the help of Punjab Information and Technology Board at the police headquarters. Several police officials with expertise in informational technology work at the center in three shifts.
A police officer said it was impossible for the field officers to manually check the security of over one thousand schools on daily basis.
The Punjab government earlier this year has announced week-long holidays for schools in the wake of terrorist threats. The authorities had extended the reopening of all the private and public schools from January 5 to 12, citing security concerns.
“Lahore police are already facing shortage of foot constables. Apart from schools , the police have to check the security of hundreds of banks, several government offices, markets, and hospitals daily,” the officer said, conditioning anonymity.
Apart from private security guards, heavy police contingents including commandoes are deployed around the elite public schools in Lahore.
At present, at least 21,233 policemen are serving in the operation wing, 3968 in the investigation wing, and 1253 are working in the security division of the Lahore police.
According to police-population ratio, there is only one constable for 413 persons in Lahore. On the other hand, there is one policeman for 198 people in Delhi, one cop for 157 persons in London, and one constable for 294 people in Mumbai.
More than 348 schools located in Lahore had been declared sensitive and at least 23 were declared as most sensitive. Hundreds of schools are already linked with a ‘panic button’ that would help administration immediately alert the police in any crisis-like situation.
A police spokesman last month told reporters that the police had launched the exercise to get panic buttons installed in all leading educational institutions in 2015. “In Lahore, panic buttons are installed in at least 335 schools .”
The spokesman had said the process would be completed probably by the end of February since a few schools are yet to be linked with the panic button.
Also, the officials of the Quick Response Force (QRF) are directed to remain in touch with the administration and the heads of all the educational institutions. It is responsibility of the beat officers to ensure proper security arrangements at schools as per the SOP issued by the Punjab government.
According to the standard operating procedure, the height of the schools boundary walls must be 8 feet with two feet high barbed wires, and CCTV cameras and evacuation points. Similarly, it was made mandatory for every school to use metal detectors, security barriers, and walkthrough gates besides employ security guards.
The police earlier reviewed the security arrangements at the schools , which are divided into three categories - A+, A, B - for security purposes. The management of all the private and public schools is bound to take security measures as per the SOP.
A five-member security committee constituted by the Punjab government had reviewed the security arrangements at schools , colleges, and universities in the first week of January. The committee later submitted its findings to the government, suggesting important security measures for the educational institutions.
Prof Pasha appointed UVAS VC again: The Punjab governor/Chancellor yesterday appointed Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) for a period of four years.
The Secretary, Livestock and Dairy Development Department Punjab notified his appointment.
Prof Pasha has the honour to be entrusted with the responsibilities of UVAS Vice-Chancellor for the second consecutive term.
Earlier the, the governor had deputed Prof Pasha to look after the duties/functions of the office of vice-chancellor on December 28, 2015 after he had completed his first tenure on December 9, 2015.
Prof Pasha is the senior-most professor of the UVAS and under his leadership as Vice-Chancellor, the UVAS attained its position among the top 10 universities of Pakistan in the Higher Education Commission’s ranking for two consecutive years (2014 and 2015).
Prof Pasha has been conferred Sitara-e-Imtiaz civil award by President Mamnoon Hussain in 2015 for his outstanding performance and showing excellence in the field of veterinary science. He was earlier awarded with Best University Teacher Award by the HEC in 2009. He is a PhD in Animal Nutrition from the West Virginia University, USA, and has about 36 years professional experience in education, research and livestock sector to his credit. He published 81 research papers in refereed scientific journals, supervised 118 MPhil and 11 PhD students. He drafted the PC-1 of the UVAS, Lahore and is focal person for establishment of Cholistan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Bahawalpur.
Prof Pasha has said that problems-oriented applied research, close liaison with the industry and livestock stakeholders, community services and quality education have been and will remain his priorities.