LAHORE: Four schoolchildren and two men suffered slight injuries when the gun of a private school’s security guard went off ostensibly during its cleaning in Factory Area.

Police took the guard into custody and sent for the manager of the company which had hired him.

The two men had come to pick up the children after closing of the private school near Chungi Amar Sidhu.

Police said Ilyas, the security guard, was checking the shotgun during school closing time when it went off. Four children who had just come out of their classes and were waiting for their parents and two men suffered injuries and were taken to the General Hospital, where they were discharged after first-aid.

The injured were identified as seven-year-old Zoha, eight-year-old Nimra, 10-year-old Obaidullah, 13-year-old Samiullah, Samar, 34, and Siddiq, 55.

Cantonment Division SP Operations Ibadat Nisar told Dawn that they had taken the guard into custody and sent for the manager of the company to investigate the case.

Incident brings guards’ hiring process to the fore

It’s common knowledge, he said, there were severe irregularities in hiring and training of the security guards deputed at various places including educational institutions and banks.

The SP said strict action had been suggested against the companies which employ guards without proper training.

“Mostly guards don’t not know how to handle a weapon and it results in accidental firing,” he said.

He said the SHOs had been directed to conduct inquiries against the dubious security companies and cancel their licences.

Many such incidents had taken place in the past. On March 12, 2016, two passersby suffered injuries outside a school on Sher Shah Road when the guard’s gun went off. SOP: A senior police officer told Dawn that most security companies were not following SOP issued by the Home Department for their working. He said people were being hired in the companies for security without any proper training and in many cases they even don’t know how to handle a gun.

“There’s a criterion with age limit but no one bothers to check the procedures,” said the officer who requested he not be named.

He said they had conducted several meetings with the security companies and directed them to strictly follow the SOP but still they were not complying with the directives.

He said all those companies which are not following the security SOP be banned.

HIRING PROCESS: A lack of compliance of the procedures and security companies’ apathy can be judged from a guard’s admission.

Speaking to Dawn, a 61-year-old employee of a company claimed that he started working as a guard to feed his family after his son, who was the breadwinner, died in a road accident.

He said he could not do labour because of his age and one of his friends suggested him that he should join a security company.

“He took me to a newly-established company, where the manager only asked about my CNIC. After taking my card, he issued me a gun and uniform and asked me to do the security job at a factory. I don’t know how to fire and the manager did not once ask me about it,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2016