Dawn News

Couriers told to keep ID proofs of mail senders

KARACHI, April 2: As the identical threatening letters recently received by half a dozen provincial lawmakers sent ripples through political and security administrations, courier services operating across the province were asked on Monday to get a national identity card copy and a visual recording of senders while accepting papers or packages from them.

Under a renewed security advisory issued by the institutions concerned, the public and private courier services will now be required to keep a record of their customers.

Official sources told Dawn that a meeting of all courier companies operating in Sindh was summoned at the provincial home department.

“The meeting was attended by senior police, intelligence and home department officials as well,” said a source privy to details of the meeting.

“Among various measures, it was decided that the people arriving at courier service outlets to drop a document or a parcel would be required to furnish certain formalities, including a CNIC copy and a brief video record through CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras.”

He said the courier services operating in the province would have to install CCTV cameras at all their outlets and train their staff to operate the technology and insist the customers to meet the formalities.

“The courier companies have agreed in principle to the idea,” he said.

Currently, he added, there was no system in place to keep a complete record of senders that could help trace their location if anything they dispatch was found suspicious or investigable.

“A few companies do manage such record but there is no serious effort to maintain it. The fresh exercise will facilitate record keeping in an organised way that sometimes becomes crucial.”

Last month Sindh Culture Minister Sassui Palijo and lawmaker Rai Naz Bozdar had received letters asking them to leave Karachi or face death. Another PPP legislator Humaira Alwani also received a similar letter that was sent by the ‘Muhajir Province Liberation Army’.

It read: “If you stayed on in Mohajir Suba despite receiving this advice, you will face the consequences. You and your family members are under our watchful eyes wherever you live within the limits of Mohajir Suba. You have very little time to pack up; so quit now, lest you should not be able to do so at all,” warn the identical messages sent to some half a dozen lawmakers.

The episode attracted serious reaction from the parties having strongholds in Sindh other than Karachi, as a complete strike was observed across Thatta and a protest demonstration was staged in Pano Akil on March 25 to condemn death threats given to the two women.

Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah ordered an inquiry into the reports after the issue was highlighted in the media though the details and nature of such probe were kept undisclosed.

The Monday meeting, the sources said, was part of the initiative announced by the chief minister and more sittings in this regard were scheduled to make the record of courier services more secure and foolproof.

“Once the companies start following such practice, their representatives will be called again to review progress. More measures were also discussed in the meeting but they might be implemented in the next phase,” said the source.

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