ISLAMABAD: The police have issued notices to local traders directing them to make security arrangements for their businesses after an increase in robberies.

Notices have been issued to traders in the rural zone that comprises Sihala, Lohi Bher, Shahzad Town, Khanna, Kural and Nilor, police said.

The notice asked traders to hire security for their safety and the safety of their shops. It also threatened legal action under the Shop and Security Act if guards are not hired.

A police officer told Dawn that police high-ups had decided to make shopkeepers responsible for their own security. The officer admitted that the decision was a difficult one because it exposed the police’s failure to protect people’s lives and property, as scores of traders have been killed or injured in robberies in the capital in the last few months.

An arms dealer and his friend were killed in a robbery at an arms dealership in April in which a significant amount of arms were stolen.

Police spokesperson Inspector Khalid Awan was not available to comment on the police’s failure to counter criminal activity and protect lives and property.

A handout issued by the police stated that Islamabad police officials met with office-bearers of traders’ unions and owners of shops in main markets on Monday with the aim to improve security around their business areas.

Additional Superintendent of Police (SP) Hassam bin Iqbal and other officials met the traders at Rescue 15, where they exchanged views on improving security, the handout said.

All the participants were asked to coordinate with police and discuss their issues with SPs, sub-divisional police officers (SDPO) and station house officers (SHO) in their respective areas without hesitation.

Mr Iqbal asked for cameras to be installed at Islamabad’s points of entry and exit and for recordings to be secured.

Traders were asked to hire trained security guards from reputable companies who are familiar with weapons.

The Rescue 15 deputy superintendent of police was appointed the focal person to guide the traders’ community in case of an issue, the handout said. Mr Iqbal appealed to them to be vigilant and inform the police if they observe suspicious activity.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2019