RAWALPINDI: A security audit of 4,820 educational institutions put in category ‘A’ across Punjab, including 464 in the Rawalpindi region, has uncovered major lacunas.

The purpose of the security audit was to report about the measures taken and to point out flaws so that foolproof security could be taken for the institutions.

In November 2021, the security audit was conducted by the Punjab police intelligence wing.

Provincial police chief Rao Sardar Ali Khan asked all divisional police chiefs to take adequate security measures and make efforts for improvement in the infrastructure and qualities of human resources.

Report says out of 38 parameters devised for security, improvement noticed in only six

In the Rawalpindi region, boundary walls around five institutions did not exist; no razor wire was found on the walls of eight institutions while five institutions were having weak walls and one had no searchlights.

There was no security guard in 11 educational institutions; vetting of 190 educational institutions was not carried out by Special Branch while one institution was having overage security guards and weapons of two guards were not functioning.

According to the audit report, scanners were not available in 464 institutions while 437 were not having walk-through gates, six were without metal detectors and 10 had no CCTV cameras. Moreover, 99 educational institutions lacked bunkers and 55 concrete barriers.

There was no rooftop duty of guards in 117 institutions; no snapper was deployed in 94 institutions while 11 institutions had no security posts. Besides, there had been no security rehearsal and communication system available at any institution in the region.

There was no police patrolling and CCTV cameras in two institutions and untrained staff was deployed in two others. Combing operations were not carried out by the Special Branch at any institution while panic button was not available in 38 institutions.

According to the report, out of 38 parameters devised for the security of the educational institutions, improvement was noticed in just six.

Moreover, deterioration was observed in 18 parameters and there were 14 security parameters showing neither improvement nor deterioration which showed that the concerned authorities did not pay any attention on improvement in these security checks.

The report found that standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued for the security of educational institutions by the home department were not being followed by the district administrations and law enforcement agencies.

Of the 4,820 educational institutions in category ‘A’, 1,007 were located in Gujranwala region, 745 in Multan, 490 in Sheikhupura, 457 in Sargodha, 450 in DG Khan, 415 in Sahiwal, 351 in Faisalabad, 313 in Bahawalpur and 128 in Lahore.

There was no contingency plans for 455 institutions while wireless systems were not available in 3,372 institutions and walkie-talkie sets in 3,871 institutions. No address system was found in 585 institutions while panic buttons were not activated in 326 others.

In the light of the situation, it was recommended that the security parameters be attended to on a priority basis with the goal of improving them and removing any gaps so that foolproof security of educational institutions can be ensured.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2022

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