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The Future of Quetta Safe City Project

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Security is the basic need and right of a country’s nationals. A country must provide security to its people for it to prosper and progress. Nowadays, countries around the world are striving hard and adopting new ways to achieve peace and ensure the safety of their people. For this purpose, technology plays a major role in enforcing law and order. It is high time that Pakistan also upgrades its internal defense system by incorporating technology into its Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs).

In recent years, the advancement and changing nature of crimes has brought about the need for LEAs to adopt sophisticated and highly intrusive methods of surveillance and investigation. The Safe City Project is Government of Pakistan’s new initiative to guarantee the safety and provision of its major cities. This project includes the usage of a number of technological features to monitor the activities throughout a city.

Following the example of Safe City Projects previously implemented in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, and Parachinar, the Balochistan government approved the establishment of Quetta Safe City Project (QSCP) on January 24, 2018. The Quetta Safe City Project was inaugurated by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on May 8, 2018. According to Pakistan Forward, the project will include installation of 1400 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras around and throughout the Quetta city. The provincial Science and Technology department will be responsible for its successful execution and working. It will be handled through a secure virtual private network (VPN) system.

In addition, the Quetta Safe City Project will work with various Government organizations and departments e.g. National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Excise Department, Police Surveillance Department, and the Smart verification and alert system. Under the umbrella of the project, all the data will be examined, filtered and monitored. It will also monitor all the vehicles entering and leaving the city. This regulation of all the processes in the government sectors will fortify the safety of the people and timely highlight any unusual activity that may take place. It will also aid in avoiding any security breach within the system.

The Quetta Safe City Project will raise the standards of defense which is why it has come as a breath of fresh air for the improvement of the security situation of Quetta. The project will help greatly reduce crime rates not only on the macro level but also at the micro level. Street crimes such as robbery, theft, target killing, and other violent crimes will become easy to prevent and eliminate by the application of QSCP. The smuggling of any illegal objects and materials will also be stopped.

Moreover, the project will act as a force multiplier for paramilitary forces, which will help in decreasing terrorism in the city as monitoring and tracking of miscreants will become easy. This will build the capacity of the State Forces and aid in preventing all sorts of security threats. As stated by Senator Mir Sarfraz Bugti, “We are in a war-like situation, and in the ongoing fight against terrorism, it was necessary to maintain the capacity building of our security forces via advanced information technology.” Live video streaming and immediate sharing of data will also help the reaction timing of state agencies in case of any untoward situation. It will be a great measure in putting an end to terrorism before it even comes into a plan. In case of any incident, the QSCP will provide the means to apprehend the terrorists.

Furthermore, the Quetta Safe City project will also provide employment opportunities for the locals of Balochistan. The project will be run by a team of highly qualified professionals who will also include key stakeholders from all the departments in the provincial government. The people of Quetta and Balochistan will be benefiting the most from this project.

However, the Government of Balochistan has yet to show any progress on the matter as no work has been commenced. The efforts of the government have fallen short in initiating the project expeditiously and needs to make it a priority to start working on it as soon as possible.

The strength of every society is based on two important pillars which are, the security of the general public and the Judiciary. The Quetta Safe City Project will help to strengthen the former pillar which will ultimately result in building the confidence of populous over the government. Its establishment will be a great achievement for the Government of Balochistan as it will greatly improve the security measures in Balochistan in general and Quetta in particular.

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Serwat Fatima is a design graduate from Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design. She belongs to Quetta and has interests in arts and design, creative writing and current affairs.

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