ISLAMABAD: Police pickets established on different roads in the capital city have been removed except those around the Red Zone.
There were 21 pickets, including at Faizabad, Golra and around the Red Zone.
Senior police officers told Dawn that Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed during his visit to the Police Lines Headquarters on Thursday and announced that unnecessary pickets would be removed. Suspicious vehicles will be checked with modern technology instead of establishing checkpoints and conducting checking in queues, he added.
Six vehicles equipped with modern technology have been handed over to the police in this regard, the minister said, adding eight more vehicles would be arranged for the police soon.
“Now people will not be humiliated at police checkposts,” he added.
The senior police officers said in compliance with the interior minister’s announcement, 18 checkpoints wereremoved from roads, including Faizabad and Golra. Three checkpoints around the Red Zone, including Khayaban-i-Suharwardy and Margalla Road, will remain active.
Six cars equipped with modern technology handed over to police for checking suspicious vehicles, says minister
About the vehicles, they said they were part of the Safe City Project. These vehicles are linked with the Safe City Project office and have access to all the 1,800 cameras installed in the capital.
Officials in the vehicles can access any camera and keep an eye on suspicious activities, people and vehicles. Besides, these vehicles may also help the police act promptly against culprits involved in criminal activities.
Two to three such vehicles are required for each police station for effective policing. But sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are required for rural area as a Sedan cannot reach every part of the rural area.
The officers said in 2007 over 100 pickets were established in the capital due to the increase in terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings. The pickets were set up in three rings: the most inner cordon for the Red Zone, inner cordon and outer cordon for the entry points.
The number of pickets were reduced gradually under the directives of formal interior ministers.
However, neither any terrorist nor criminal was either intercepted or arrested from any of the pickets, said the officers, adding a number of pickets were attacked by terrorists or criminals in the past. A few months ago, the police started a security audit of the capital under the directives of the government. The police were asked to identify spots where pickets were not required so unnecessary posts could be removed.
A number of meetings were held over the issue but the security audit was not completed, they added.
Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2020