Foreigners’ security desks to be set up across Punjab

Jan 08, 2019

RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government has decided to establish foreigners’ security cells in the Central Police Office (CPO) and the Home Department as well as in all the districts with requisite staff and logistics.

All foreigners will inform their first arrival to the desks concerned.

The District Foreign Security Cell (DFSC) will be headed by an officer not below the rank of superintendent of police (SP) and additional secretary of the Home Department.

The DFSC, containing China desks, will also be established in the offices of the capital city police officer (CCPO), city police officers (CPOs) and the district police officers (DPOs).

Observing enhanced international investment in the province and the expanding role of foreigners in development activities, the government has chalked out fresh standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the security of foreigners/Chinese nationals.

According to the fresh guidelines issued to all divisional police chiefs and commissioners by the Home Department, all foreigners shall report to the DFSC concerned on their arrival for the first time and will also inform it about their departure details.

The DFSC will sensitise them about their responsibilities and provide them written instructions (in English/Chinese languages) regarding security.

A computerised database and biometric record of each foreigner living or working in the jurisdiction of the police concerned will be maintained and tallied with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s record.

Since the tourism industry has been suffering due to security issues, the Ministry of Tourism in coordination with provincial tourism department will be responsible for devising a mechanism to ensure security of the tourists.

Tour operators may be advised to inform the tourism ministry in advance about the arrival of the foreign tourists.

Many people in the tourist category normally stay in the provincial capital or major cities but some of them visit difficult and remote parts of the province and may expose themselves unnecessarily to the dangerous environment. Security officials must inform them about the dangers and risks involved in such areas and ensure that undue risks are not taken.

There are a large number of students coming to Pakistan for studying in various educational institutions and they need to comply with all rules and regulations.

The major issue with the students is that they do not only stay beyond the expiry of their visas but also join such seminaries that function under the umbrella of proscribed organisations.

The provincial government suggested making sure that no student would be allowed to study in the province if they do not possess a study visa.

Moreover, all educational institutions must be bound to provide information about the foreign students within two days of submission of admission applications from such students. No admission to educational institutions under the student visa will be made without checking the NOC issued by the Home Department.

Conversion of the status of a visa from tourist/business to student shall be discouraged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreigners intending to study in public/private institutions or seminaries will route their request through their respective embassies for maintenance of record.

The students will not be allowed to change the institution without approval of the government.

The higher education and health departments will share the data and details of foreign students studying in colleges and universities with the Home Department or the city police office.

Many foreigners are staying in Punjab for work purposes and running their businesses such as restaurants, beauty salons, etc. It is difficult for the police to provide security to every foreigner, therefore, it is the responsibility of their employers to ensure that all safety precautions are taken and they remain in contact with the law enforcement agencies.

If the foreigners are self-employed, they should keep regular interaction with the law enforcement agencies to inform them about their safety and concerns.

However, they will be strictly advised by the DFSC to hire private security guards.

The recommendation to stop a project will be submitted to the regional police officer who will forward it to the CPO/Home Department for placement before the cabinet subcommittee on law and order for further decision.

Focal persons for foreigners

All project managements will nominate a focal person to liaison with the Home Department and the DFSC concerned about security issues.

In case of an emergency, the focal person will be responsible for coordinating with the DFSC on behalf of the project management.

A small dedicated unit, “deployment unit”, including persons from the Special Branch, representatives of the project concerned and the local police, will be deputed to provide security to the project.

Proper security organisations will be established for each major project to avoid breakdown in the chain of command.

The DFSC will issue an advisory for foreign tourists and foreigners traveling to its area.

The responsibility of overall security for all projects remains with the police and joint visits of DCs and CPOs will be planned to residences and project sites to check the security arrangements.

The joint task team should visit each site periodically and identify the shortcomings. And elite trained staff with arms and ammunition will be deployed at the vulnerable projects. They will ensure that the weapons allocated to security guards are operational and in a good condition.

The security advisory committee constituted in each area will also share their objectives about the foreigners and their activities with the DFSC concerned.

(Daily Dawn)