To make Islamabad “one of the safest cities” in Pakistan, the federal government has decided to install extra cameras in the capital during the current fiscal year to increase Safe City Project coverage from 30 percent to 100 percent.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah stated at a news conference on Saturday that the safe city project already covers at least 30 percent of Islamabad, but following the installation of additional cameras, coverage will be extended to the entire city.
Mr. Sanaullah stated that additional cameras would be deployed in “all significant locations” and that the Safe City Authority had been granted Rs40 million to meet its immediate needs.
According to the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Islamabad police chief and the director-general of the Safe City Authority have been tasked with creating a feasibility assessment for the project’s extension.
The government plans a 100-bed hospital for the capital police; cameras will be installed at police stations to monitor officials.
The minister stated that the project would receive funding within one week of completing the feasibility assessment but did not specify the amount required to expand the project.
Reliable sources told Dawn that the capital police had been requesting an increase in the number of CCTV cameras and personnel for the Safe City Project for some time. They reported that Islamabad Safe City Project officials had suggested adding 4,000 extra cameras to the city.
“Since the commencement of the Safe City Project several years ago, Islamabad has experienced fast growth in terms of area and people,” the authorities said, adding that 1,905 cameras were currently positioned in various regions of the capital.
Initially, the Safe City Project assisted the police in tracking and identifying the perpetrators in response to a request from the operation division and investigative branch.
However, its function was expanded when its agents were instructed to assist the capital police in reducing the crime rate.
Stop police brutality
Rana Sanaullah stated that the government would take steps to remove “police culture” in the nation’s capital and install surveillance cameras in police stations to ensure police department accountability.
“No one will be permitted to use torture in police stations, nor will it be condoned,” the interior minister stated at a press conference.
He added that the government would build a 100-bed hospital for the Islamabad police at an estimated cost of Rs5 billion.
Later this month, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will lay the foundation for the hospital, for which 300 million rupees have already been allocated, adding that every effort will be made to complete the project during the current fiscal year.
In addition, the minister stated that the government had satisfied a long-standing demand of the Islamabad police by bringing their pay and other perks and privileges in line with those of the Punjab police, at the cost of Rs738 million.
He also stated that the government acceded to a request from the Frontier Constabulary by bringing their salary in line with those of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police and increasing their ration allowance, adding that the action had a budgetary impact of Rs1.5 billion.
The government also allocated Rs667 million to equip the paramilitary force with anti-riot gear, adding that anti-riot training would be provided to at least 2,000 soldiers.
Mr. Sanaullah also pledged that Rs1.2 billion owed to the families of martyrs for the past four years would be disbursed as soon as possible.