ISLAMABAD: The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights was shocked to learn on Wednesday that half of the CCTV cameras installed in Karachi by provincial government departments were out of order.
“There are 2,200 CCTV cameras in the city, which were installed by the City District Government, Karachi Police and the IT Department Sindh, out of which half are not working”, DIG Administration Karachi Police Ghulam Sarwar Jamali told the Senate body.
Jamali informed the meeting that irregularities were made during the procurement of CCTV cameras and quality was compromised.
“Cameras of two megapixels were purchased while eight megapixels cameras are required so that object recorded can be identified”, Jamali added.
The committee was also informed that some of the cameras installed have been stolen and record for the cameras is not maintained by most government departments.
At least 10,000 CCTV cameras need to be installed in Karachi to meet the challenges of security, Jamali stated.
The Sindh police in 2010 launched the ‘video surveillance system’ for Karachi with an initial Rs500 million estimated cost. The project was further expanded in 2014 when the law enforcement agency announced another Rs846 million project to install more surveillance cameras at important locations in the city in addition to the 1,000 cameras to meet the growing security challenges and help make the ongoing ‘targeted operation’ a success.
Apart from its own surveillance system, the Karachi police supervise the KMC’s command and control centre at the Civic Centre after the Sindh government in September 2013 replaced the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) with the law enforcement agency, in a major move after the federal government had announced the launch of the Rangers-led targeted operation in the city.
Concerns about the utility of surveillance arise not only from the regular investigation arms of the Karachi police, but also from specialised units, which are mandated to investigate heinous crimes ranging from terrorist activities to killings and from extortion to kidnapping for ransom.