Long queues of vehicles on check posts: security measure or a threat to security?
Yasir Ilyas and Sohail Rashid
Security is the gravest concern of Pakistan nowadays, and twin cities also have some very sensitive locations where law enforcement agencies have taken extra measure for tightening security. Placing pickets and barricades on main entrance points of the cities is the strategy of the law enforcement agencies to coup with security threats and challenges.
But on other hand general perception of the common public is that this is a “looking busy doing nothing” policy to place barricades and pickets in the way of smooth flow of traffic. They are strictly against placing pickets on the roads used for movement within city. They consider these pickets a major hurdle in the flow of traffic especially in the peak rush hours like the time of morning when people move to their offices and the rush hour of evening, when people move back to their homes after their work.
“This is one of the obstacles I have to face daily and it is quite teasing for me to cover a distance of 15 km up to my office in 40 to 45 minutes due to these pickets and signals, otherwise I can reach in my office easily in a 10 minutes drive.” Said Shabab Ahmed, who is an employee in a bank in F 8 markaz and lives in satellite town.
Hanan Durrani is a student of a university in Islamabad and he is resident of Rawalpindi, he said, “Stopping in long queues of vehicles and waiting for your turn to pass through these pickets is a continuous risk itself. I am afraid he someone explodes himself in this long queues of vehicles it would be a disaster.”
Ammar Barlas is working in Pakistan Television. He has to come from his residence in Banigala to the PTV headquarters daily. He said “This practice is totally fruitless.” He said proper scanners should be installed on entrance points of the city instead of these pickets where police personnel check vehicles without proper equipments.
Ali Raza, a shop keeper in Islamabad said that such pickets are a risk for the nearby localities and markets as well. So agencies should go for alternative measures in this era of technology which should be risk free in nature and could produce better results.”
“Making your intelligence network better is the only better option to prevent the entrance of miscreants in the city, we have seen numerous attacks in Rawalpindi and Islamabad even after establishing these checkposts and pickets.” Said Tahir Ali.
On the other hand, police officials are the view that they are exercising this tough job for the security and protection of people. They said that standing on roads and keeping an eye on the inflow of traffic in sun is not an easy job, but we have to do it unwillingly for the security.
Dilaram khan is head constable, deputed on I 8 check post along with two men near Faizabad. He said, “We know that people are troubled with these barricades, but we do our best to facilitate the public and ensure smooth flow of the traffic.” In reply to a question about managing traffic flow in the rush hours, he said, “we remove one of the barricades and allow the traffic flow in two lanes, but with a strict security check and ensuring no suspected vehicle enters in the capital”
Tariq and Siraj were two constables deputed over there, they said, “we are not fond of performing such a tough job just to tease the people. We expose ourselves to a continuous threat just with an intention to protect our citizens.”
Dilawar khan is another head constable deputed on main Faisal Avenue along with four constables. He also expressed same opinion as by Dilaram khan. He said, “People are very cooperative in this sense. He said during his duties, people cooperate with forces, as they know it is in their interest to check the vehicles for safety.” He further said, “We remove one barricade in the rush hours to make smooth flow of traffic and claimed that you will not see long queue of vehicles on the picket.”
Sajid Mehmood said that this mechanism to check traffic inflow in city is successful in his view. He said that after establishing such security pickets militancy in twin cities has fallen up to great extent. He said, “We have achieved Pakistan after great sacrifices, and we as a nation are ready to give more sacrifices for the protection of Pakistan.”