Over the years, militant groups operating in the country have diversified their modus operandi. Our law-enforcement machinery, however, has not kept pace and has been unable to contain the myriad threats from various quarters. It has not been able to come up with innovative security procedures despite clear evidence that they are badly needed. Presently, security checks at entry and exit points of sensitive places in our country are still dependent on physical checks by security personnel. Using computerised or other database system cannot be of use unless security personnel, down to the lowest rank, become computer literate. However, this might take a long time. Militant groups gather information about their targets by studying security procedures employed at entry and exit gates, the pattern of deployment of security personnel in the outer and inner cordons, other security arrangements and how security checks of civilians and services personnel and their families are carried out.
Security checks by security personnel at prohibited or sensitive military installations need a lot of improvements. Sadly, at present, the lower ranks in the armed forces, especially in the army, remain under pressure while performing security duties at entry and exit points and are afraid of their officers so much that many times they do not ask officers (even if they do not know him) to prove his or her identity. If they see officers in uniform they salute them and let them pass through the check post without checking his service identity card and his vehicle’s papers.
Similarly, officers also do not like their service or private vehicles to be searched or other occupants of the vehicle to be checked. They also dislike it if the security check posts staff point at tinted glasses in the vehicles. These wrong practices on the part of services personnel discourage the lower ranks doing security duties from performing their job honestly. At the same time, militants take full advantage of these weaknesses. Officers of the armed forces should set an example by showing their service identity cards and proving their identity themselves before they are asked to do so by security personnel. Similarly, they must also allow security personnel to check their vehicles and its occupants.
Sqn-Ldr (r) S Ausaf Husain