Government’s security guidelines not enough?
By Afnan Khan writing for the Daily Times, Pakistan
LAHORE: In the wake of reported terrorist threats for schools providing Western educational facilities, the city’s elite educational institutions are hiring private security consultants to provide foolproof security to students and faculty.
The schools have decided not to rely solely on the security instructions issued by the government.
Daily Times also found that some schools had even started to charge for the beefed-up security, by adding an extra head to the fee charts. The government has termed its security guidelines as ‘state of the art’, and claims that no terrorists would be able to strike if the schools adopted the measures advised by the authorities.
The Home Department and City District Government Lahore (CDGL), a few weeks ago, had issued general security guidelines for the administrations of all private and public schools, after intelligence agencies reported that terrorists could attack co-educational and elite institutions.
The warning had forced a number of elite schools to shut down in Islamabad and other cities. The schools were re-opened after the schools’ authorities adopted more stringent security measures.
In order to leave no loopholes, the administrations of these schools have now started to hire private security consultants.
“This country is beginning to sound more and more like a war zone, and we have so many enemies in and outside our borders. No wise person would take a chance in a situation like this and we are doing the same by hiring private security experts, who are striving to make a foolproof security net around our schools,” the administrator of one of the city’s most elite school chains told Daily Times.
He said the administration of his school had asked the parents to inform the school of the registration numbers of their vehicles, and the names and relations of the people mostly coming to pick the children from the school. He said the administration had also asked the parents for their cell phone and other contact numbers in order to stay in touch with them. He said parking stickers were also being issued to the students.
Satisfaction: “We know that the situation is not that critical here. There has not been a single incident of terrorism against any private school in the country, but we can’t take a chance. We don’t have any problem with what the government is advising us to do but we believe that we need to do more for our personal satisfaction and that’s what we are doing now,” he said.
Checking: Lahore District Coordination Officer (DCO) Sajjad Bhutta told Daily Times the government had assured full support to the educational institutions seeking to improve their security. He said the guidelines issued by the district government for schools’ security were adequate. However, he said, the government did not discourage the schools from taking their own measures for security, including the hiring of private consultants.
Bhutta said the government was planning to check how far the schools had complied with the government’s security directives. “What we have asked them to do is enough to ensure security but we don’t have any problem if someone takes any further measures to give their students a sense of extreme security. We are definitely working on the issue and will check if they have adopted at least what we had asked them to do,” he said.
Bhutta said the terrorists would feel encouraged if the security guidelines were adopted in a haphazard way.
Previous government instructions
* Every school should have three iron gates, which must be opened only after ascertaining the visitor’s identity
* Schools should have private security guards
* Telephone numbers of the DCO Office, TV channels and newspapers should be displayed on the notice board of every school
* An alarm to summon everyone at a specific place should be installed in every school
* Schools should have different closing timings
* Every school should have four telephone numbers and CLI
Additional measures taken by schools
The schools’ administrations are:
* Erecting fenced walls
* Installing walk-through gates
* Reinforcing boundary walls
* Placing huge barriers outside the schools’ entrances
* Hiring trained and well-equipped security guards
* Ensuring that there is no place for any attacker to hide
* Disallowing visitors
* Banning the entry of all kinds of vehicles