KARACHI: A large number of Karachi University (KU) students and teachers attended a session on terror attack preparedness on the campus on Wednesday.
The event was skilfully conducted by a Special Security Unit (SSU) team of Sindh Police, though the programme was poorly organised on the part of the university and the space selected for the training session (the chemistry department auditorium) was too small to accommodate a huge number of attendees.
The highlight of the programme was a mock exercise on combating a terror attack in which four police personnel dressed up as gun-toting Taliban entered the jam-packed auditorium and threw dummy explosive devices in front of the audience to create smoke and loud sounds. While everyone was trying to calm their nerves, another SSU team that included female commandos showed up to counter the ‘attack’ and ‘kill’ the militants.
The audience was also introduced in detail to a wide array of lethal and non-lethal weapons ranging from repeater, AK-47 (Kalashnikov), rocket propelled grenade-seven, MP5 (sub-machine gun), gas gun, G3 rifle to M16 rifle. Tips were also shared on how to protect oneself and carry out evacuation in case of a terror attack.
“Knowledge about weapons and training in their use is crucial to effectively tackle any attack. But if you are caught in a hostile environment unarmed, don’t challenge the offender and get down on the floor,” said SSU team leader major Mohammad Saleem whose sense of humour made an otherwise serious subject enjoyable for the audience.
Earlier at the start of the programme, KU registrar Moazzam Ali Khan explained the reasons for organising the event and said it had become important to sensitise students and faculty members on security needs in the wake of terrorist attacks on educational institutions.
“Spread over 1,300 acres, the university has 54 departments and 21 institutes with more than 30,000 enrolled students. In addition, the university has around 3,000 teaching and non-teaching staff and is visited by some 10,000 people daily,” he said while speaking about the security challenges the university faced.
The university within in its limited resources had recently taken a number of measures to improve security that included raising the height of the university boundary wall while process was under way to hire private security guards, identify sensitive areas to erect eight watchtowers, place 50 surveillance cameras and establish a control room, he added.
Vice chancellor Prof Mohammad Qaiser said the nation was fighting ‘hidden enemies’ that had made the battle against militancy harder and the most vulnerable targets in this war were educational institutions.
“With a large area and thousands of students and visitors coming to its premises every day, the university can’t provide fool-proof security,” he noted, adding that the Wednesday session would be followed by another programme on the same subject with the Rangers.
A documentary based on the operation of SSU commandos was also screened during the programme.
Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2016