The horrific incident of Army Public School Peshawar has woken up the Islamabad administration to the security issues of educational institutions in the capital city.

Inspector General of Police Islamabad Tahir Alam Khan told the media recently that a team comprising police and intelligence agencies personnel would identify loopholes in the security of schools and suggest measures to plug them.

Experts believe that like in the past this exercise too would produce no results unless the schools to take minimum security measures.

A survey of 19 government buildings was carried out by the Special Branch of the capital police following an attack at District and Sessions Court, Islamabad, in March.

The security apparatus submitted a report to the interior ministry, identifying lacuna in their (buildings) security and recommended steps to improve it.

Following the operation Zarb-i-Azb, there were intelligence reports that terrorists might retaliate and target Islamabad.

Again, a security audit of 78 important buildings, which were vulnerable to terrorism or had received threats, was carried out. It was also decided to involve sleuths of other intelligence agencies, including Intelligence Bureau, Inter Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence besides Rangers in this exercise.

The Special Branch was given the focal role which coordinated the whole exercise. After months, the Special Branch compiled a report after analysing the recommendations of all the agencies.

Officials of the capital police said the survey identified various lacunas in the security of sensitive installations. None of the buildings has taken appropriate security measures, they said, adding 41 of them did not have even barbed wire and blocks which were considered the first line of defence.

Besides, the buildings do not have security personnel deployed on the rooftops, which is necessary to intercept anyone breaking the first line of defence - the barbed wire and blocks.

Walk-through gates are also important in security point of view but the survey found this facility only at 39 buildings.

Likewise, close circuit television (CCTV) cameras also play an effective role in security but 27 buildings do not have them while the recording system of the CCTVs was found faulty in 30 buildings.

Despite several warnings and demands, 31 government installations and public places did not raise their boundary walls to a sufficient height.

Loadshedding is another major security issue as 31 government installations do not have UPS or generators to keep their security system running during power cuts. Besides, 40 buildings and public places do not have valid fire extinguishers or fire alarms.

The Special Branch submitted the report to the interior ministry with a request to ask the administration and the management of these government installations to take the security measures mentioned in the report.

The capital administration was also approached by the police seeking directions for the administrations of these buildings to take the recommended security measures.

Police and the capital administration asked the administration of the sensitive buildings to adopt security measures under Shop and Security Act. The police cannot combat terrorists alone. All sensitive installations should at least take minimum security measures mentioned in the report, the ministry officials said.

Published in Dawn December 22th , 2014