THIS refers to a report by S.Raza Hassan, ‘Woman says she was raped at mazar’ (March 19). An 18-year-old girl was kidnapped and gang-rapped by five men at the premises of the Quaid’s mazar on the night of March 15.
The management and security staff of the mausoleum was unable to trace the girl until the police found her in the morning on March 17, lying heavily intoxicated, near the outer gate of the mazar.
According to another report, published in a section of the press on March 19, the girl on the night of March 15 was guarding her relative’s shoes outside the Quaid’s museum at the premises of the mazar and waiting for her husband who had gone outside to bring the remaining members of their family waiting outside the mausoleum.
In the meantime a power breakdown occurred and during this period the girl was kidnapped by two employees of the mausoleum who took her to a storeroom in the mausoleum at gun-point.
The girl was recovered by the police on March 17, after she was held captive for 36 hours in the premises of the mausoleum and was subjected to sexual assault.
At present the resident engineer of the Quaid’s mausoleum is looking after security of the mausoleum, with the help of a retired major and 70 security guards.
The victim woman says she was subjected to rape by a security guard posted at the mausoleum as one of the suspects (March 20).
The shameful incident shows that security at the Quaid’s mausoleum is very poor and needs a lot of improvement. Here are a few suggestions:
a. A physical security plan of the Quaid’s mausoleum should be prepared and a security control room should be established in the premises of the mausoleum which should be manned round the clock to monitor and control security operations.
b. Security standing orders for the mausoleum should be formulated.
c. Character and antecedents of all employees of the mausoleum should be verified by the police.
d. Off-duty security guards and other employees should not be allowed to enter the premises of the mausoleum unless they have written permission of the resident engineer/security officer.
e. Close circuit television surveillance cameras should be installed at important places to monitor any undesirable activity by the security control.
f. There should be a proper key control system, and keys of rooms, stores, basement, etc, should be issued to authorised persons only by the security control.
g. Wireless communication between security control and guards should be arranged.
h. There should not be any loadshedding at the Quaid’s mausoleum, as it is a national monument or a power generator should be arranged to keep the security lights on during the loadshedding or power failure.
i. Arrangements of public address system or megaphone should be made to make some important announcement by the security control.
j. No room, including basement of the mausoleum, should be left unattended or unlocked even during the day.
The Quaid’s mausoleum is visited by thousands of people every day and it is also a place for tourist attraction. Hence it is quite vulnerable to criminals and terrorists.
To have better control over security personnel, it is suggested that the overall security of the Quaid’s mausoleum should be under the control of headquarters Commander Karachi of Pakistan Navy, which is already having operational control over contingents of Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force while performing ceremonial guard duties at the mausoleum since 1973.