The Pakistani government is planning to fit hardliner clerics placed in the ‘Fourth Schedule’ with microchip bracelets. Approximately 700 clerics from all schools of thought come under this classification in Punjab. Once installed, the bracelets will track the location of the respective individuals and if the bracelet is tampered with or removed, authorities are immediately notified.
The bracelets have been designed by Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and each one costs around 25,000 PKR. Around 1000 devices have been handed over to the police and they are waiting for the go ahead from all concerned departments before fitting the clerics with them.
The move is a part of the National Action Plan, which was set in motion after the terrible attack on Peshawar.
According to an unnamed official:
All arrangements have been made and modalities are finalised. The new policy will be implemented fully irrespective of who is who. This idea will make extremists’ monitoring easy.
The authorities want to use silicon bracelets as part of a scheme to ensure round-the-clock monitoring of the movement and behaviors of fourth schedulers.
‘Fourth Schedulers’ is a blanket term for anyone suspected of terrorist activity. Under the Anti-Terror Act, they can be kept under observation and have to check in with the police on a regular basis. The move is expected to lighten the burden on police departments and prison systems across the country.
While the plan has met natural opposition and has serious privacy implications, it’s prudent to remember such systems are already in place in developed countries. If used correctly, ankle bracelets represent a system where low level criminals and suspected individuals can be tracked with ease, reducing the load on law enforcement.