LAHORE: Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms Implementation Unit (SRIU) on Wednesday directed the Pakistan Railways authorities to improve the security procedures for safety of the women travelling by trains.

On the instructions of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, SRIU head Salman Sufi has been working closely with police to ensure women passengers’ safety at railway stations, bus stands, motorways and national highways.

The directions were issued in the wake of gang-rape of a woman passenger by three staffers of a private firm managing a Karachi-bound train last week.

Mr Sufi told Dawn that measures would be taken to ensure the safety of women passengers in the country and railways lady police personnel would be deployed at stations and platforms for the purpose.

Mobile phone app, panic buttons, CCTV cameras and lady police to check harassment, rape bids in trains

He said a mobile phone application -- Safar Saheeli App -- would be launched and instructions would be printed on the railway tickets for downloading it, along with emergency phone numbers.

Mr Sufi said one lady sub-inspector and two lady constables would be deployed in long-distance trains, adding that the number of such teams could be increased as per the number of passengers in a train.

He said emergency ‘SOS’ buttons would also be installed in all train for women to seek help in case of sexual harassment or rape attempt, besides launching awareness programmes on women’s safety through posters, pamphlets, handbills, public announcements and electronic media ads.

Mr Sufi said a Video Surveillance System (VSS) would be installed at vulnerable locations at all railway stations, besides two CCTV cameras, one each in a bogie and corridor, to check crimes against women.

He said Face Recognition Camera (FRS) App would also be developed to trace criminals and check their previous crime record.

He said information about the character and conduct of all private employees would be gathered through concerned agencies, including police’s special branch, before awarding contracts of outsourced trains.

“The contracts already awarded to the private companies will be reviewed and [information regarding] character of all private employees will be vetted through concerned agencies/special branch,” he said.

Mr Sufi said control rooms would be established in all trains to monitor the passengers and action would be taken on any mismanagement in this regard.

He further said the SRIU would monitor the implementation of the prime minister’s directions and would also provide technical help to the Pakistan Railway in developing the new system.

He said the Pakistan Railway was directed to implement the reforms within 90 days and he would personally monitor the progress in this regard.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2022

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