After more than three years since the passage of the Sindh Security of Vulnerable Establishments (SSVE) Bill, Karachi’s District Central is the only district of the province to identify vulnerable establishments to ensure implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP).
Like the provincial assemblies of Punjab, KP and Balochistan, Sindh’s legislature passed the SSVE Bill in April 2015 to implement NAP, which was devised after the horrifying 2014 Army Public School massacre in Peshawar that left 141 people, including 132 schoolchildren, dead.
The SSVE Act covers sensitive places, which include schools, hospitals, places of worship, NGOs, foreign projects, banks, moneychangers, industrial units and parks. In an interview with The News, District Central SSP Dr Rizwan Ahmed Khan said a security advisory committee will have to be formed by the deputy commissioner in each sub-division of the province for identification of vulnerable establishments and to make arrangements for their security.
SSP Khan said the committees, as per the SSVE Act, are to be headed by sub-divisional police officers (SDPOs), while representatives of the district administration, the Special Branch, the Counter Terrorism Department, traders and farmers are to be the other members.
The committees, formed as per the SSVE Act, have to identify sensitive places, recommending them for notifications to be issued by the relevant deputy commissioners. The officer said he met the District Central deputy commissioner to discuss implementation of the SSVE Act, adding that after a series of discussions, committees have been formed in every sub-division of the district and are headed by the relevant SDPOs. “In the first phase, District Central has identified 1,962 vulnerable establishments in the district, including schools, hospitals, places of worship, NGOs, foreign projects, banks, moneychangers and jewellery shops,” he said.
“On the identification of vulnerable establishments in District Central, SDPOs of the relevant sub-divisions have issued advice to incharges of 1,200 such establishments about making security arrangements as necessary.”
SSP Khan said the incharges of the vulnerable places of worship have been advised to appoint guards, install CCTV cameras and set up vantage points inside or outside the premises. He said the incharges have been told that the guards they will have to appoint should be less than 50 years of age, be properly trained and be provided with enough arms and ammunition to counter any possible terrorist activity. The incharges have also been asked to install CCTV cameras with a resolution of four megapixels and they are not to be more than 15 feet higher than the ground, he added.
He said the incharges have been asked to start using metal detectors and walk-through gates to ensure maximum security, adding that members of the committee will report to him in case of non-compliance.
He said the incharges of 1,200 vulnerable establishments have been served with a letter of advice to ensure security arrangements, while incharges of the remaining establishments will be issued the letter within a week. “In case of non-compliance, the incharges will be issued with warning letters, and if they fail to implement the advice again, they will be served with show-cause notices.”
He said legal action will be taken against those who fail to respond to the show-cause notices, adding that as per the SSVE Act, a violator can be imprisoned for up to six months, and no suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings can be initiated against the committee’s decision. He said it is mandatory for every station house officer to inspect the vulnerable places, as declared by the security advisory committee, and submit reports on them to the head of their district officer.
Citing the SSVE Act, he said: “If any organisation fails to implement the advice of the committee within the stipulated time, the committee may direct officials to completely or partially seal it until satisfactory arrangements are made.”