ISLAMABAD: Diplomats and security advisers of some embassies in Islamabad have expressed concerns over the prevailing law and order and crime situation in the capital.

Sources in the police told Dawn on condition of anonymity that diplomats and security advisers from 35 countries from Far East, Central Asia, Middle East and Africa met senior officers of the capital police on Monday and discussed security-related issues. A similar meeting was scheduled on Tuesday with diplomats concerned and security staff of the remaining embassies. However, it was postponed due to the unavailability of the capital police chief, they added.

On Monday, a briefing was given to the security staff of some embassies at Islamabad Safe City Authority’s building. The embassies’ staff showed concerns over road blockades and sealing of Red Zone which hampered their movements. Though they expressed satisfaction over the security measures, they complained that the security measures were kept secret till the eleventh hour.

Staff from an African embassy asked the police to inform the embassies about security measures prior to any protest gathering so that events/programmes could be rescheduled according to the circumstances.

The police provided security cover to diplomats of different countries on their over a dozen round trips to the airport from Diplomatic Enclave, including 15 on May 25, in view of the PTI’s long march and the road blockades. The officers said staff from the embassies of Egypt and Saudi Arabia reached the venue of the briefing early and those from 35 other embassies on time. But the hosts arrived 15 minutes late, they added.

Staff from some embassies showed concerns over the security situation in the capital. One of the security staffers asked if Islamabad was safe for walk, including trails on the Margalla Hills. The embassy staff of a Far Eastern country showed concerns over the increase in street crime in the capital. One of the staff members asked the police to share with them the crime statistics.

There should be transparency in the crime statistics shared with embassies and the diplomats, they told the police officers. According to the international standards, countries shared crime statistics of their capitals with all embassies located there.

The meeting with the diplomats and security advisers was held in connection with the recently-established District Foreign Security Cell. The aim of the meeting was to develop a working relationship with the staff concerned of the embassies and share relevant information and details with them.

Details about the security measures for the diplomatic community in the capital were also shared with them. The embassies’ staff also visited the monitoring hall of the Safe City, said the police officers.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2022

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