RAWALPINDI: An intelligence agency has raised serious concerns over the lack of proper security arrangements in educational institutions across Punjab, adding major security lapses were being overlooked.
The concerns were raised after a security audit of educational institutes included in the ‘A’ (high risk) category was carried out by the intelligence agency on Oct 7. A report on the security lapses was sent to the Punjab home department.
After the terrorist attack on the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar in December 2014, law enforcement agencies were directed to take measures to ensure the security of educational institutions in Punjab.
An intelligence agency was also tasked to carry out an audit of all the institutes, some of which were still under terror threats.
Intelligence report expresses dissatisfaction over arrangements for security of educational institutions in Punjab
After the security audit, the home department has directed the divisional police chiefs and divisional commissioners across the province to take up the issue with all the stakeholders within five days to ensure foolproof security in all the educational institutions to avoid any untoward incident.
The intelligence agency’s field staff carried out an inspection of 5,085 educational institutes included in the “A” category. Of these, 1,403 institutes were in the private and the remaining in the public sector. About 475 of the institutes were located in the Rawalpindi region.
The report said of the 5,085 educational institutions, boundary walls around 131 were yet to be constructed. Most of the schools without boundary walls - 84 - were located in the Sahiwal region.
Razor wires around the boundary walls were not laid in 60 institutions in the Faisalabad region.
The academic blocks in 1,338 of the institutions were still without boundary walls. Besides, observation posts have not been constructed in 520 institutes with 179 of them in the Sheikhupura region.
The report also said the dilapidated walls around 877 institutes were yet to be reconstructed and 468 of such schools were located in the Sheikhupura region.
In addition, searchlights have not been installed around hostels of 1,760 institutes and 416 of such schools were located in Multan.
The audit team also found no security guards in seven academic institutions - five in the Rawalpindi region.
Moreover, weapons given to the security guards of 32 institutions were found non-functional.
Similarly, in 228 educational institutions, the security guards had not been trained by the police while 2,867 institutes had not obtained security clearance of the guards from the Special Branch.
Over-aged security guards were deployed in 215 institutes in the province, the audit report stated, adding 128 of such guards were deployed in Lahore, two in Gujranwala and 82 in D.G. Khan.
The report added that CCTV cameras had not been installed in 25 institutions while night vision cameras were not found in 4,171 places.
Walk-through gates have not been installed in 4,714 institutions and metal detectors were not available in 199 institutions. Besides, 4,854 institutions were still without scanners.
There was no police patrolling around 359 institutions while the facility of wireless communication was not available in 3,080 institutes. There was also no public address system in 632 institutes.
In addition, mock exercises were not conducted in 1,672 institutions while contingency plans were yet to be prepared by 510 institutions. Regular combing operations in the vicinities of 1,444 institutions have also not been carried out.
It was also noticed that bunkers had not been constructed in 1,441 institutions while concrete barriers did not exist at the exit and entry points of 691 institutions. As many as 1,276 institutes did not have zigzag barriers.
Vantage points were not available in 495 institutions and armed guards at vantage points have not been deployed in 839 institutions.
In Rawalpindi region, there are 475 educational institutions but none of them have night vision CCTVs. Only two institutes have walk-though gates while no school was found using scanners. Weapons of 15 security guards were found non-functional while only 10 bunkers were built in the educational institutions.
Around six institutions have no boundary walls while nine institutes lacked CCTV cameras.
The intelligence agency in its report expressed dissatisfaction over the arrangements for the security of the educational institutions in line with the standard operating procedure.
Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2016