LAHORE: Ending years-long differences, the Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) and a Chinese technology company signed a new settlement agreement here at the authority’s headquarters on Thursday to operationalise the entire PSCA infrastructure, including cameras.

According to the agreement, the Punjab government will not have to pay any additional amount and the Chinese firm will carry out the maintenance works at the previous dollar rate of Rs104 when the initial agreement was signed.

A spokesperson for the PSCA said Chinese Consul General Mr Zhao Shiren and provincial ministers, the CM’s Adviser on Home Affairs Umar Sarfraz Cheema and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Raja Basharat were present on the occasion of the signing of a new agreement.

Acting Punjab inspector general of police Kanwar Shah Rukh, Huawei Pakistan Deputy Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Bilal Masood and senior officials from the company also attended the event.

Speaking to the media, PSCA Chief Operating Officer (COO) Muhammad Kamran Khan said it was a landmark achievement of the Punjab government and the authority to convince the Chinese company to agree to their terms.

Huawei engineers would visit Pakistan to fully functionalise the project in around four months. The Chinese firm would provide all the necessary hardware and software for the project on its expense.

Mr Khan said the foreign company would be responsible for introducing innovation to the Safe Cities project according to the needs of modern technology, and the PSCA would run the project with a new commitment in accordance with public aspirations.

After Lahore, the project had been installed in Kasur and Nankana Sahib, he said, adding work was under way on similar projects in Muridke and Sialkot. The Safe Cities Authority was also setting up a modern centre in Rawalpindi as per the directions of the Punjab government.

Mr Ahmed Bilal Masood said the company would provide all possible support to make the Safe Cities project fully operational.

He said the PSCA was a state-of-the-art project that played an exemplary role in the eradication of terrorism, crime control and traffic management. Safe Cities was not only a surveillance project with cameras, but also a revolution of technology, data and analytics facilities.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2022

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