ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is looking into verifying complaints that 600 CCTV cameras – out of a total 1,800 – that were installed around the capital under the Safe City Project are not functional.
The bureau took notice of the complaint on Thursday following the abduction of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tahir Dawar from the capital.
NAB’s media cell said the bureau’s chairman, retired Justice Javed Iqbal, directed for the aforementioned complaint to be verified.
“Taking notice of non functioning of surveillance cameras, the chairman directed NAB Rawalpindi’s director general to submit details of expenditures incurred on the project and details of start of the project and reasons of its dysfunctional,” a NAB press release stated.
Mr Iqbal also directed the director general to investigate the reasons of the project’s ‘failure’ and determine who was responsible.
Meanwhile Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry claimed on Thursday that 900 out of the capital’s 1,800 CCTV cameras are out of order and the rest cannot read vehicle registration plates or people’s faces.
“We have to take those responsible for the faulty project to task,” he said.
The Rs14 billion Safe City Project was launched in Islamabad under the PPP in 2008, and continued until the tenure of the last PML-N government. In addition to installing CCTV cameras, three truck-mounted scanners were also imported from China and installed at points of entry into Islamabad.
A total of 1,840 cameras were installed all over the capital and the project was inaugurated in 2016. Since then, many cameras have begun developing faults and more than 600 are not working properly.
It has been reported that most of the non-functional cameras have stopped working because their cables have been cut; 236 cameras in Tarnol, on various highways included Kashmir Highway and in Bhara Kahu are out of order because their cables were damaged during construction.
Many of the cameras are not handled by the operators in the control room, and some have stopped moving and only face in one direction.
The project aims to use surveillance to rid the capital of crime and sectarian and terrorist activity. The Islamabad police have sent the National Database and Registration Authority a request to float a tender for repairs.
Lahore prosecutor faces show-cause notice
The NAB chairman has directed for a show-cause notice to be issued to NAB Lahore prosecutor Arif Mahmood Rana for negligence in the performance of duty.
NAB’s media cell the prosecutor allegedly argued in favour of a suspect during the hearing of a case in the Lahore High Court without consulting the head of NAB in Lahore or the NAB Lahore deputy prosecutor general.
Mr Rana allegedly favoured the suspect’s point of view despite knowing NAB had already submitted comments in this case.
The show-cause notice will ask the prosecutor to elaborate on the reasons and circumstances of his alleged negligence so the matter may be taken to its logical conclusion.
The NAB chairman has directed prosecutors and investigators to pursue cases and appear before the court with complete documentary support, and put forth arguments with concrete evidence, so culprits may be punished and stolen funds can be deposited with the national exchequer.
Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2018