Electronic surveillance to ensure Islamabad as ‘safe city’ by year-end



An electronic gaze via nearly 2,000 high-definition surveillance cameras dotted along the length and breadth of Islamabad will watch over every movement of criminals of all hues, from a dangerous terrorist to a petty car lifter, by the year-end.

To be completed at a cost of US $ 124 million with collaboration between Ministry of Interior and NADRA, the “Safe City” project will be run by Chinese experts for the first year before being handed over to NADRA. Chinese government provided the soft-loan assistance for the project.

For these surveillance cameras to work at their full capacity, a data-base of past records, including photos, of terrorists will be available at the check-posts around the city, for which trained staff has been deputed.

The next to follow suit in the “Safe City” projects will be Rawalpindi, with Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta not to remain too far behind.

“The Real time facial recognition technology will be introduced in the system through which it would be possible to arrest the suspect if his picture is already part of the database, said Member Finance, Shahid Hamid, of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

The software would also allow 12 hours of footage to be fast forwarded to six minutes because of advanced technology,” he said in a published report.

These are not ordinary cameras as previously installed in different cities of the country. They are High Definition products which can fully recognize a person, a must required facility for the police and law enforcement agencies to spot and recognize the criminals and their movements.

“Footage from CCTV cameras are not of good quality to recognize the criminal but the quality of these cameras will be sharper as we are using HD cameras for it, says Tariq Mehmood additional secretary ministry of interior.

The safe city project will be assisting police in a way by providing them the required information.

Hamid explained that it was originally decided that all equipment for the project would be imported duty free but Federal Board of Revenue refused to exempt duty of the goods. So, the equipment was not available for a number of months and was eventually released in the last week of June 2015, hence the delay (in the much-vaunted) project.

This project would help to reduce petty crimes like car theft also.

To keep surveillance on the locally registered vehicles at check-posts, a trained manpower was required.

In a published report Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said, the government is striving hard to eliminate the terrorism and every possible step would be taken to ensure protection of the life and property of citizens.

A Chinese company would look after the project for one year. Later it would be handed over to NADRA in connection with the district management and intelligence agencies. Special chips would be issued to locally-registered vehicles while vehicles coming from other parts of the country would be strictly monitored.