LAHORE: Some 8,000 surveillance cameras, costing Rs12 billion, will watch over the city under the phased Punjab Safe City Project.

This was stated by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday at the inauguration of the Punjab Safe City Project.

He said the project would turn the city crime-free and peaceful. The Punjab government undertook the landmark project in collaboration with leading Chinese company Huawei.

8,000 surveillance cameras to watch over Lahore

He, citing figures of cameras for Islamabad, said Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had increased the number of cameras of Islamabad Safe City Project from 1,500 to 2,000 whereas Lahore would get 8,000.

He spoke of his efforts to make it cost efficient, saying he had convinced the lowest bidding company to bring down the cost from Rs16 billion to Rs12 billion. The Islamabad Safe City Project, four times smaller from Lahore, was signed for Rs12 billion six years ago, he added.

The chief minister said a huge screen had been installed in the command and control centre which was the biggest screen of Asia. He hoped that the Chinese company would operate this project as an example of hard work, honesty and transparency.

He said those leveling allegations of corruption should also remember transparency in this project and the saving of Rs4 billion of national resources. A prominent international institution like the World Economic Forum had acknowledged the examples of transparency set by federal and Punjab governments, he said.

He said recruitment for the project had been made on merit and those recruited would testify to the merit criteria.

He said that monitoring of different areas was being carried out on the screens set up at the center and a vigilant eye would be kept on criminal elements. He said in case of any incident of crime, an alarm would ring which would alert the institutions concerned.

Mr Sharif said the project would make Pakistan a safer, peaceful and prosperous country. He paid tribute to armed forces, police and the people for rendering supreme sacrifices in the war against terrorism and extremism, saying the project would play an important role in dealing with terrorism.

He said the similar projects would also be launched in Multan, Bahawalpur, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Sargodha and completed by the end of 2017.

He said that the first phase of Punjab Safe City Project had been completed in Lahore while its other phases be completed by mid of next year.

The chief minister said Chinese Consul General Yu Boren had extended cooperation in the project, also linked with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2016