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Personal & corporate security in the current environment.

Personal or, for that matter, Corporate Security is largely a matter of common sense particularly, in the backdrop of a local socio-economic and political environment. The role of the Law Enforcement Agencies, the District Administration and, in the overall context of the CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM; let me be very candid about it and admit that in this area of governance, the system has virtually collapsed. I do not wish to dwell on the causes of this situation because, I am sure, we are all too well aware of the same. Briefly, our experiments with various types of governments, more on the basis of expediency rather than in the long term interests of the country, is the main cause of the present day situation.

Coming now to the practical aspects of personal & corporate security in the current environment, but before doing so, I would like to sketch a quick picture of the current environment in Karachi. The city is loaded with weapons, both sophisticated and ordinary; ammunition is available in plenty (amply demonstrated in various districts from time to time and more universally to welcome the new year recently); breakdown of civic amenities and then there is political, inter-factional and sectarian infighting resulting in increased intensity of militancy within the various warring groups. On the other hand we have the Police & the Rangers, getting well equipped with crores of rupees worth of modern weapons, armoured personnel carriers (APCs) bullet-proof jackets and additional manpower without any consideration for personnel QUALITY or MERIT. To add on to the miseries of the common man, we have the various types of mafias operating hand-in-glove with a collapsed civil administration. I don't think I need to go on further nor, do I have to tell a group of management experts, what we are heading towards!?

Homing on to the security aspects, we at CPLC are more concerned in personal security matters such as anti-kidnapping, anti-car thefts and people exposed to threats, extortion and black-mail. So far as static security measures i.e. of home & place of work are concerned, we leave it to the expertise available with the innumerable security agencies operating in the city. However, a word of CAUTION. Check them out thoroughly and don't compromise on quality of service. I will now go through, one by one, the various types of situations one can be confronted with from our past experiences.

1) Kidnapping and Short Duration Hostage Taking: Both these crimes are well under control. The former, thanks to the dedicated efforts of my colleague Jameel Yousuf along with an equally dedicated team from the L.E.As. and, the latter, thanks to efforts of the Police Department. Just to refresh your memories, you will recall that in the early part of last year, a sudden spud of husband/wife hostage taking, followed by extortion or blatant dacoities at their residence, had created terror & panic in the city. It was indeed a very novel & ingenious modus-operandi, rendering the security at home completely impotent.

Give details of the two incidents:

a) Husband/wife intercepted while returning home from a wedding ceremony. Brought home breaking through' security guards. House cleaned. Husband taken along and dropped off at a distance.

b) Husband/wife intercepted and taken as hostages in a Kutchi-Abadi. Husband let-off to collect money. Miraculously, the wife escaped while being driven around.

Just for record purposes, CPLC has handled more than 150 cases of kidnapping for ransom since 1990; busted 22 gangs of kidnappers consisting of 132 criminals, some acquitted and a large number are under-trial. As I have stated earlier, kidnapping and couple snatching are virtually extinct and let's keep our fingers crossed that they remain so.

2) Car-Snatching (at gun-point): is the most serious and widespread crime which persists today. Apart from the trade aspect of this crime, snatched cars are extensively used for commiting further criminal activities. The latter recovered when abandoned. However, a dangerous aspect of car-snatching is the driver being taken for a ride, as a hostage, to ensure a safe get-away. From the interrogation reports of kidnapping gangs, it was revealed that car-snatching was the training ground for the fresh recruits. So a word of warning to the L.E.As., to take serious measures to control this crime. (Read out statistics of last 4 years). So far as the citizens are concerned, CPLC advises the following: -

a) Etching of windscreens with the regn, eng and chassis nos. A further step to create a hurdle is to boldly point the regn nos on the side panels of the vehicle. ('Pajeros and Land Cruisers/& Dbl Cabin Pick-ups)'

b) Install an alarm system, preferably against snatch position but, at least to ensure static safety.

c) When parked, awaiting a passenger or for a quick hop-in purchase; lock your car and stand at a distance (mostly applicable to chauffers). When approaching your parked vehicle it is advisable to look around before unlocking.

While driving, try and observe the following list of precautionary measures:

(Read out from list)

However, if you are a victim, please observe the following procedure!

a) 15

b) CPLC

c) FIR

d) FRC

3) Threat Extortion/Blackmail

a) Received thru' phone calls or letters. Normally taking advantage

b) Please call CPLC immediately.

Choices available: Pay & pay forever - out of the question. Our normal advise: (i) Ignore-totally. However, a word of caution! Depending on the area of residence and place of work, sometimes it may be serious.

So, please consult us but, the Final Decision will be yours.

Before Closing: Having talked about various security matters. I think it is important to appreciate that one cannot be paranoid about this issue. We have to look and endeavour to seek short and long term solutions.

The socio-economic disparities, non-availability of inexpensive and speedy justice etc. etc. are the major reasons.

I have thought about it and have come to the conclusion that unless and until we have participation of the citizens at the lowest levels of government. In fact what I am suggesting is local self-government in its' real sense. Let me also inform you that this is not something unusual that I have suggested. It is all over the world and, as widely travelled management experts, you must be aware of the countries and boroughs in U.K., city governments in New York, London, Tokyo and on and on. Karachi talk about major property tax/Oath Sindh structural changes. Unfortunately, in Pakistan whenever we have tried to move one step towards democratisation, the process has been short-circuited. It is about time the intellectuals, the professionals and the business community pondered on this issue with long term national interests and when I talk about the national interest, it is the general welfare of the common man.
Yearwise Figures of Car Theft/Snatch and Recovery from Year 1991


 Recovery
Year Stolen Snatch Total Recovery Per (%)


1991 2429 990 3419 1143 33.43082
1992 1703 844 2547 1074 42.16725
1993 1800 1332 3132 1565 49.96807
1994 1931 2141 4072 1674 41.11001


Total: 7863 5307 13170 5456 41.42748


Ladies and Gentleman, we cannot live in islands of security, surrounded by a turbulent sea.

Personal Protection Measures

Personal protection is largely a matter of commonsense. Most people have an inbuilt sense of survival and avoid situations that may endanger themselves. However, most people are not aware of how criminals operate. There are two main types of criminal activity, pre-planned and opportunity. The pre-planned activity depends on a reconnaissance, during which patterns of activity, that can be exploited, are looked for. At other times the criminal may exploit an opportunity if the environmental circumstances are right and the gain outweighs the chance of being caught. There are measures that can be taken to reduce the risks of becoming the target of such activity. The following list is by no means exhaustive:

Lock your car, while driving:

1. Do Not Set Patterns:

a) Vary routes and timings when travelling to and from; work, relatives, shops etc.

b) Vary routes and timings when walking or running for leisure.

2. Use Main Routes: Where possible use main routes and avoid:

a) Badly lit areas.

b) Quiet residential/industrial/waste areas.

c) Single lane roads.

3. Look Ahead:

a) When driving, look ahead and be aware of situations that may cause you to slow down or stop. If suspicious, avoid getting into that situation. At night do not give way to a suspicious vehicle if it honks or flashes headlights from behind to corner you. Checkout by sudden accln and detour.

b) When driving leave enough distance from the car in front so that in case the front car stops/blocks you, there is enough space for you to get away.

c) Wherever possible, stay on the road where there is fast moving traffic.

d) If anybody blocks your road, try to choose an exit point even if it means damaging your car to escape the blockade.

4. Look Behind:

When driving and walking, be aware of who is following you, if suspicious, stay calm, and head for the nearest 'safe haven' such as a police/military/navy, barracks, busy areas etc. try to lose them, never approach your house or your friends.

5. Let Someone Know Your Travel Arrangements:

If possible tell someone where you are going and let them know when you arrive. Avoid early morning or noon outings. If necessary drive fast and be alert. Watch your rearview mirror at all times.
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Author:Haji, Nazir F.
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Feb 1, 1995
Words:1579
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