Inadequate security at weekly bazaars
By Shahzad Malik
ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority holds three weekly bazaars in the federal capital to provide essential commodities on cheaper prices but inadequate security measures have been taken, revealed a survey on Friday.
The survey revealed that nearly 30,000 people visited the bazaars and keeping in view the spate of terrorism in the country, the security there had become a challenge for the authorities.
There is high security risk in the federal capital but only three private security personnel stood at the entrances/exits of the bazaars and checked visitors with metal detectors, the survey report said. It said the authorities deemed that this was the only way to check explosives and track miscreants and added that the claim proved false after the suicide attack at the Bari Imam shrine.
The CDA had built boundary walls around the bazaars to counter terrorism but there was a need to take extra measures, the report said. Adjacent to the bazaars were parking lots but the police deployed at the parking area was not equipped to check explosives in vehicles. The report said that poultry and meat sections in the bazaars were potential targets.
Kashif Imran, Labour and Manpower Ministry section officer, told Daily Times that he was scared to visit the weekly bazaars because of insecurity there. He said he visited the bazaars early in the morning after the Bari Imam bomb blast.
Safdar Abbasi, a stallholder at Peshawar More weekly bazaar, said the CDA officials raided stalls to check prices but did not check the security arrangements. He said several stalls were burnt to ashes a few weeks ago due to short circuit and added that CDA had made no arrangements to fight fire.
Liaqat Ali Khan, the senior superintendent of police in Islamabad, said police was taking steps to provide foolproof security at the weekly bazaars. He said three police reserves including undercover officials would be deployed at the bazaars.
He said a bomb blast took place in fruits and vegetable market in 2002 where more than 40 people died and several were injured. The SSP said there was need to take extra measures to ensure the protection of life and property. Mustfain Kazmi, the director sanitation, told Daily Times that the CDA security staff would petrol inside the bazaars to maintain security.