The sale of security gadgets has reached at its peak in Karachi following the Taliban attack on Bacha Khan University, Charsadda, reveals a market survey conducted by Pakistan Today.
The main reason behind this increase in sale of security gadgets is the security threats to the country’s educational institutes following the attacks on Bacha Khan University earlier this month and Peshawar’s Army Public School in December 2014.
As security threats loom large, Karachi’s Mansfield Street in Saddar area which houses mainly shops of arms dealers was on Friday seen buzzing with shoppers who were found inspecting arms, scanners, CCTV cameras, walk-through gates and other security gadgets.
When interviewed, most of the visitors said that they were running private educational institutes in the metropolis and wanted to purchase certain security gadgets to boost security.
“I run a private school in Gulshan-e-Iqbal area and I have come here to purchase an arms scanner,” said Hasnain Umar, one of the visitors. He said he was purchasing this security gadget to satisfy parents that their children were studying at a safer institute.
Another visitor complained that the prices of surveillance cameras had increased a lot. “Following the APS attack, I came here to purchase CCTV cameras for my school but I had to postpone my plan for some reason. As of today, the arms dealers have increased the prices of CCTV cameras manifold,” he added.
Most of the visitors at the market were seen making inquiries about the prices of scanners and CCTV cameras and almost 90 per cent of them were associated with education business.
“Most of the visitors are purchasing scanners and CCTV cameras,” said a salesman at Tayabally Abdoolally & Sons, adding, “You can evaluate increase in sales by the fact that we are running short of stock and have placed orders with the manufacturers.” “We have witnessed 100 per cent increase in sale after the attack on Bacha Khan University,” the salesman said.
With the increase in sale of security gadgets, a dearth of manpower with the security companies in Karachi has been witnessed.
The security companies have issued advertisements inviting interested candidates to join them to cater to security needs of the city’s schools. The owners of private schools claimed that security guards were now demanding increase in salaries. Moreover, the security companies have also doubled charges for deployment of a security guard at any place.
“The arms dealers and security companies are the two main beneficiaries of the uncertainty that prevails in Karachi in wake of serious security threats,” Private Schools Management Association (PSMA) Chairman Sharfuzzaman said.
“Providing security to educational institutions is the responsibility of the state, but the state has put this responsibility on the shoulders of private schools’ owners,” he added.
“There are two categories of private educational institutions in the city: the first category is charging Rs 30,000 per month from a student while the second is collecting Rs 1,000 from a student on account of tuition fee, he said, adding, “It is not difficult for those who are collecting Rs 30,000 from a student to arrange CCTV cameras and walk-through gates, but it is difficult for a school owner who is charging Rs 1,000 from a student to arrange a scanner or put up a walk-through gate.”