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Sindh establishes new security unit

Pakistan on 25 July 2014
Location : Karachi, Pakistan | Source : Central Asia Online. Image Source: Central Asia Online

KARACHI – Sindh Province has a new surveillance and intelligence unit to boost security efforts.

Former Sindh Inspector General of Police (IG) Iqbal Mehmood Khan proposed and developed the unit, which officials established July 8.

"I want to develop a strong but independent intelligence unit in the police to monitor the areas where the federal government regularly needs assistance," Iqbal told Central Asia Online.

"The wing will be headed by a superintendent of police and comprise between 50 and 60 personnel," he said. "The unit will be based initially in Karachi and might expand to other cities later."

Intelligence gathering and sharing
Covert surveillance by police has been a key weapon in fighting organised crime and terrorism, he said, adding that the unit would serve as a community intelligence wing for the police and would forward reliable information to police stations.

The unit will mostly focus on gathering information about unregistered foreigners whom it knows nothing about and who could support terrorist activities, Iqbal said. "People will keep coming. We must have data."

It will collect sensitive information from various databases, such as the police and tax departments, to find and track terror suspects and incidents. Police will work with hotel managers and landlords to prevent suspected terrorists from seeking refuge and plotting violence.

A single database will house the intelligence, which police stations will share. This process will not only increase transparency but also will provide police the tools, technology and information they need.

"Such units will really help encourage ... co-ordination between intelligence agencies and local police," Iqbal said.

The Sindh and federal governments will take every step to maintain law and order and will not rest until an abiding peace returns to Karachi, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said.

"Surveillance and intelligence can play a significant role in preventing and reducing all forms of crime," he said. "Analytic products related to threats will be disseminated to police commanders to aid in apprehension of offenders and prevention of crime."

Improved policing in the capital
Intelligence units are already part of the Islamabad Police with units at 18 police stations across the city.

"As many as 36 police officers have been deputised by the intelligence units," Islamabad Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Muhammad Ali Nekokara said.

"The intelligence teams are enhancing police efficiency in areas of reconnaissance, planning, target hardening and response," he said. "They are also collecting critical information related to criminals, providing substantive insight into various threats and identifying suspected individuals."

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