Security agencies point lack of security check for India-bound Thar express

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Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The Pakistani security agencies, while seeing poor screening of passengers both at Karachi and Khokhrapar railways station for the India-bound ‘Thar express’, have stressed upon the provincial government of PPP to take extra-ordinary measures for thwarting possible infiltration or act of terrorism from either sides of the border.

Hindu extremists while waiving false flags to put the blame on Muslim group had attacked on Feb 18, 2007 two carriages of Samjhauta Express as it travelled past Panipat towards Amritsar on way to Pakistani border.

The services remained suspended for long till the new arrangement was made according to which ‘Thar Express’ a Pakistani train departs from Karachi to Zero Point, Pakistani side of Khokrapar Railway station and Indian train also comes to Munabao Railway Station on weekly basis.

Scann

Only one train crosses the International border to fetch the passengers for the duration of six months on reciprocal basis, officials say.

Presently, it is the ‘Thar Express’ which is going to the Indian railway station ‘Munabao’ with effect from 6th September 2014 and will continue till Indian train takes over the turn in last week of February next year to come to Pakistani railway stations Khokrapar for fetching passengers. Since, it is the turn of Pakistani train to cross the border and entre India to patch the passenger, any checking lapse may lead to infiltration of unwanted elements from either side of the border to another country.

A letter sent by the security agencies to Sindh Government and its relevant departments state that the luggage of passengers travelling to India is not being checked as scanner machine installed at Karachi Railway Station’s platform number-7 for ‘Thar Express’ is out of order for last 9 months.

“Railway police lady searcher is available but is not carrying out thorough search and clearance of female passengers” sources said, adding Railway police duty staff is also not in possession of metal detectors for spot checking and scanning of luggage. Therefore, only customary manual checking of luggage and personnel is carried out which is not of required standard, source added.

Insufficient strength of railway police is employed at railway station with subject train.
At Zero point no scanning machine is available for checking and only manual checking is carried out. No walk through gate is installed at Zero point railway station and no female Police staff available for checking of female passengers. Railway police duty staff is also not in possession of metal detectors for spot checking and scanning of luggage, a letter sent to Sindh Government on 15 December states.

In order to avert any untoward incident the authorities have been directed to replace scanning machine at Karachi and Zero Point railway stations and provide metal detectors to security staff deputed at both railway stations for spot checking and clearances.

Railway police’s lady searcher should be trained to ensure thorough checking and inspection of all female passengers whereas Railway police lady searcher at

Zero Point railway station should employed for smooth clearances.

The authorities have also been instructed to install walk through gates at both railway stations besides increasing railway police strength.

Originally Published here 

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Author: Naimat

Karachi based journalist, writing on national and international issues.

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