This letter refers to the nuisance posed by the so-called 'private security guards that are ubiquitous in ever increasing numbers in Islamabad. Most often there are complaints of these guards being involved in teasing passing women. Then there is the issue of their involvement with the increasing menace of prostitution and bootlegging in the city. The latest problems they are allegedly involved in are arms importation. These guards are hardly trained in security matters, a fact amply illustrated by the Marriott blast in which we saw them first running away from the assailing truck and then pouring water on the explosives-laid truck before it detonated with a bang. Some of these guards are not even provided with firearms or adequate security equipment. Their efficiency can be judged from the fact that in various F-series sectors in Islamabad, where some streets have more than 15 guards on duty, the incidence of thefts and even more heinous crimes is as high as ever. Their job is often no more than closing down the CDA-approved public parking spaces by illegally putting up chains or other barricades. There is a serious need to streamline security so that guards are on duty at mounted security posts inside premises of the houses they guard, rather than wandering the streets to tease the women folk. These guards are a great source pollution also as they often light up leaves and branches of trees to create campfires for their nightlong vigils. That fills Islamabads clean evening air with smoke. Islamabad DC office which regulates the security firms has proved most incompetent in handling them and has allowed all kinds of people into this business in the name of street security. May be it is time to reduce their number by half through introduction of a license fee for those employing more than one security guard per premises. They should also be screened thoroughly and a guards complaint cell should be set up in the DC office. There is, in fact, a need to introduce residence permit system for Islamabad now. -M.SHAIKH, Islamabad, December 3.