LAHORE - Security at the headquarters and other offices of provincial government has been enhanced following terror threats.
Besides the construction of security posts at the main boundary of the Punjab Secretariat, the police guard has also been increased to counter any tragic incident.
Barbed wire has been fixed at the boundary walls of the Civil Secretariat and all of its gates. A security guard told that they had been ordered thorough checking of the officials working in the secretariat. Security has also been beefed up at other buildings like P&D complex, CMIT, Punjab Ombudsman Office, Services Tribunals, Irrigation and Energy Complexes and Board of Revenue.
The S&GAD and the Home department are on the same page to arrange foolproof security arrangements at the headquarters. Although walkthrough gates are already in use, CCTV cameras have also been installed to monitor security in the civil secretariat.
Same arrangements were made on the boundary walls and gates of the adjacent MPAs hostel, the Pipal House.
Moreover, security of other buildings like Pakistan Railway Headquarters, Lahore Railway Station, Central Police Office, CCPO Office has been beefed up by posting additional staff. Universities, colleges, schools, media houses and other institutions in city have been warned to arrange their security arrangements.
All these organisations have already been directed to take strict security measures amid the Peshawar carnage besides their closure to avoid any sabotage like that of Peshawar.
More than 700 schools of the province are under threat by terrorists. Couple of days back, Punjab Chief Secretary Naveed Akram Cheema had issued directions for these schools to ensure security arrangements. The police and Education Department were directed to review necessary affairs without any delay, the CS held.
Besides educational institutions, police and secret agencies should perform their duties more efficiently at public and private buildings and public places and all resources should be utilised for tightening security, he added.
The officials at the Civil Secretariat were of the view that the security had been beefed up because of threats of sabotage. They said that the long march, PTI sit-ins in Islamabad and Imran Khan’s declaration to shut down the capital city had also forced the government to increase security in the Secretariat. Meetings on law and order were also increased in the home department to counter the opposition plans in the provincial capital, they held. However, they said, the security men could not even maintain daily visitors' registers. They further suggested that the police guard should be removed from VIP duties and post them at educational institutions.
A senior S&GAD officer told this correspondent that after attacks on the Navy War College and Federal Investigation Agency office in Lahore, Punjab government had banned the entry of all private vehicles into the Secretariat, but the practice failed to sustain. Security of this secretariat will remain a dream till alternative parking arrangements are placed away from offices,” he added.
The official also said that the Civil Secretariat seemed a parking pool for the government and private owned vehicles - a big threat to the historic Anarkali tomb. He said that there should be separate parking plaza for the secretariat officials and visitors to avoid existing threat of terrorism.
He said that the security of officers, and employees’ pick and drop buses should also be increased that was missing altogether.
Meanwhile, police patrols on important roads and surveillance of Bus Stations, Anarkali bazar, Liberty and other markets has also boosted. On the other hand, passengers were complaining that the security measures at PR Headquarters and Railway Stations of Lahore and Faisalabad were not up to the mark. “Not a single police official came to check their luggage when we boarded the train.
The entrances to the Railway stations were open so the need was to check such entry points to avoid any untoward incident,” they maintained.
There was, in real, no proper security system placed at the major railway stations, let alone the surveillance system of miles-long railroads across the country.
A high school principal conditioning anonymity said that it was hard to arrange foolproof security arrangements at schools as they lacked funds to recruit security staff on their own. He said that the Education department should sanction more seats for security men in public sector schools, colleges and varsities besides earmarking funds to pay them.
“Police must be posted at schools to counter-terrorism activities that have badly knocked down the morale of the new generation after the Peshawar tragedy that claimed lives of many innocent flowers,” he added.