Defence Minister Khawaja Asif calls for enhanced security on NA premises

Published May 17, 2024
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif speaks in the National Assembly on Friday. — National Assembly X account
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif speaks in the National Assembly on Friday. — National Assembly X account

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday called for enhanced security measures within the premises of the National Assembly (NA) building and its lobbies.

Speaking in the NA, the minister said that a large number of unidentified individuals were often present at the building’s entrance, noting that people congregate outside the hall, in front of the elevators, and in the corridors, posing significant security risks.

He noted that previously there was a system for issuing passes to members of the NA in the past, which should be implemented strictly to maintain security in the Parliament.

The defence minister emphasised that enhanced security measures were crucial to avoid any untoward incident.

He referenced the March 26 Bisham suicide attack, where the explosive-laden car that targeted the bus of Chinese workers had reached Bisham from Balochistan’s Chaman area 10 days before the terrorist attack took place.

He also expressed concern about the behaviour of individuals seated in the gallery, who he said often engaged in sloganeering, thereby “undermining the sanctity of the House”.

NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that verbal instructions were issued previously, followed by a notice issued by the NA secretariat dated May 14, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.

According to the notice, authorities have ordered to keep Gate No. 1 cleared of visitors and staff to ensure a smooth passage for parliamentarians and “strictly ward off unnecessary crowding”.

“Anyone within the security apparatus, found guilty of failing to discharge their duties shall be held responsible and face repercussions,” leading to disciplinary action, the notice reads.

“Moreover, TikTokers, YouTubers, Vloggers and unchartered social media activists shall not be allowed to flock outside the Parliament House to bother the Parliamentarians and record videos inside or outside the galleries of the House.”

It added that proper security mechanisms should be in place to monitor unwanted activities. “Non-conforming persons shall be expelled from galleries/precincts, and cellphones and other gadgets shall be confiscated from those indulging in such activities.”

It was noted that visitors with entry passes for the Senate who tried to enter the NA would be restricted to the Senate, and that all visitors will be randomly checked for valid entry passes issued for the NA.

Further, security guards would be deployed at Gate No. 1, while security at the main gates “shall be beefed up to prevent the entry of unauthorised persons”, the notice reads.

It added that the Ministry of Interior, Islamabad Police and law enforcement agencies would assist the National Assembly Security in controlling the unauthorised flow of visitors from the outer gates of the Parliament House.

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