LAHORE - The Punjab Home Department has launched an operation against the security companies which are not meeting the standards laid down by “The Punjab Private Security Companies (Regulation and Control) Ordinance, 2002”.

The home department also cancelled licences of 42 such companies and issued show-cause notices to 129 others, said the sources privy to the development. They claimed that, at present, there were more than 380 security agencies supplying manpower to private institutions, banks, markets and individuals. But these security guards were recruited without keeping in view the parameters set by the Punjab government.

It merits mentioning here that of the 380 security companies more than 300 were being owned and run by the retired senior military officials who were not bothering to meet the criterion set by the Punjab government. The sources said there was one security company that was meeting the standards set by the Punjab Home Department. This security company is providing staff to all sensitive and important institutions, foreigners’ movement and army public schools. Most of the companies are not even verifying the whereabouts of its staff by the special branch. The security companies are bound to provide security guards as per the standards set by the ordinance.

The candidates selected by a company must be having height at least 5 feet and 2 inches, aged between 18 and 55 years, educated not less than 8th grade and must be healthy in all respects.

As per the ordinance, the security companies are also bound to impart training to their staff – two weeks to civilians and one week to retired officials of armed and security forces. But no company meets the criterion set by the government.

A citizen seeking anonymity said his brother who had no CNIC was also hired by a security company. He was of the view that companies were hiring even overage and underage persons against nominal salaries in violation of the rules.

An official of a security company, seeking anonymity, said they impart training of around 30 minutes to their newly selected security guards. The Interior Ministry through the Punjab Home Department had issued instructions to security companies to impart proper training to their security guards.

Internal security wing of the home department had issued instructions to security companies to arrange elite courses for their staff, including training in use of weapons, guard duty, search techniques, bank duty, frisking and others.

The government is of the view that by imparting training and teaching security laws to private security guards they could play a role in combating terrorism.

But most of the security guards do not know how to use a rifle or pistol. Moreover, the weapons given to them by security companies are also outdated.

Certain agencies operating in the adjoining areas of Lahore are performing too poorly and hiring highly incompetent personnel; some of them are even drug addicts.

Shehzad, an advocate, said he hired a guard from a company for the security of his house situated at GT Road in Harbanspora police station limits. After some days a theft incident happened at his residence and his guard was grilled by the police because of his suspicious activity.

During interrogation, he not only confessed to the crime but also told the police that he was involved in other theft cases with the backing of his company supervisor.