ISLAMABAD - Officials are working on an urgent basis to make all CCTV cameras of Islamabad Safe City operational before the arrival of JUI-F protesters in the capital. The primary motive is to keep the city, mainly the entry points, secure in what is expected to be a highly politically charged environment.

During a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday, it was pointed out that most of the CCTV cameras across the capital are not working at the optimum level. To the concerns of the committee members, the interior ministry replied that the project was initiated by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), and it was handed over to Islamabad police later on. The committee wanted to get a briefing of the Islamabad Inspector General of Police on this matter, but it was told that he was busy in meetings related to the upcoming JUI-F ‘Azadi March.’

Islamabad Safe City Project (SCP) will remove all of its malfunctioning before 27th of October - before the arrival of the JUI-F leader Maulana Fazal ur Rehman.

While talking with The Nation, Director General (DG) Sarfaraz Falki said that the SCP tasked itself to eliminate every malfunctioning occurring in the camera system spread across the capital. He further explained that around 90 police officials were tasked on the field under the SCP for immediate response in case of an emergency or situation.

He also assured that the entry and the exit points of the capital were their very first priority in maintaining peace across the city during the upcoming JUI-F protest.

On Wednesday, PAC pointed out that half of the cameras were not functioning correctly and out of order. When this question was raised to the DG Safe City project, he told that the malfunctioning was due to the destruction of fibre cables grounded in the city. The cables are 4-5 meters below the ground, and therefore, in place of any development or construction. The fibre cables get effected which supply functions to the dozens of camera connected to it. “80% of the malfunctioning in the CCTV cameras is because of the ongoing construction near Khana Pul,” told DG SCP.

However, DG Sarfaraz Falki was positive about the recovery of the corrupted system before 27th October and told that special company was already assigned to recover the damage, and by every passing hour the progress is observed.

The Safe City project was initiated under the PPP government in 2010, after the bomb attack on Marriot Hotel at the cost of Rs8 billion. At the start, the project was majorly in the hands of HUAWEI as they were the installers and needed to supervise its functioning until it reaches perfection. The complete handover of the project to NADRA was recently done in May 2019.

Later, on the start of June 2019, the project was finally given in the hands of Islamabad Police which is still operating it.

When the DG was asked about the budget, he told that the project has demanded Rs1500 million, but they have received one sixth of it which is around Rs250 million.

However, the high rank official was optimistic about receiving the remaining due amount.