The first Safe City project is expected to be completed in January 2024, as announced by Brigadier Retired Haris Nawaz, the caretaker minister for Sindh’s home ministry, on Tuesday, according to ARY News.
The initial phase, which involves monitoring vehicle records and models, is set to conclude in 1.5 years, as stated by Caretaker Sindh Home Minister Haris Nawaz in a media interview. He further declared that the government of Sindh would be hiring an additional six thousand police officers, emphasizing that various police officers assigned to security duties have already been called in. Land grabbing stands out as a significant concern impacting our economy. In line with our commitment to combat this issue, explicit directives have been issued to the DIGs and SSPs, instructing them to implement stringent measures.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the politicization of bureaucracy, Nawaz cited two opposing groups: the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Following the election of new governments, he criticized the practice of dismissing officials from opposing bureaucratic organizations. The interim home minister recommended granting more authority to local governments (LG). Haris Nawaz urged the people of the country to cast their votes for the appropriate candidates in the elections and to abandon their prejudices against their community. Despite seven years passing, the Safe City project, which involves the installation of 10,000 CCTV cameras in Karachi, remains incomplete.
The collaboration between the Sindh government and the National Radio Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) faced numerous delays, despite the Supreme Court’s directive to commence it in 2016. Throughout this period, the initial projected cost of the venture surged from Rs.10 billion to Rs.40 billion. The committee assigned to finalize the project convened multiple meetings. Although the project received approval in 2011, it is yet to be initiated due to a staggering 300% increase in its cost over the 12 years since the inception of the Safe City project in 2011, originally estimated at Rs. 10 billion.
Under the Karachi Safe City Project, up to 10,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) units would be progressively placed around the city. In the first phase, 4,000 cameras will be installed throughout the city, followed by an additional 6,000 in the second phase.
In addition to introducing face and vehicle recognition software and a biometric system to identify offenders, the project involves the installation of CCTV cameras and the creation of command and control centers around the city. While the Sindh government had initially stated that the project would be launched shortly, the project’s cost has significantly increased due to delays from the provincial authorities, raising serious concerns about the government’s performance.