All major railway stations in Pakistan will be equipped with luggage-scanning machines, according to new directives issued by Minister for Railway Khwaja Saad Rafique.
The move comes at a time when the country is recovering from a recent spate of terrorism witnessed in all four provinces.
Several railway stations across the country already have luggage scanners either operational or in the process of installation.
“Luggage of passengers at Karachi Cantt, Rohri and Rawalpindi stations is already being checked with these machines while equipment to scan baggage at Lahore will soon be operational,” said Railway Police Inspector General Munir Ahmad Chishti.
At Rawalpindi Railway Station, two luggage scanners have recently been installed: one to check passengers’ luggage, and another one, in the Cargo Terminal. According to sources, several other stations, including those at Peshawar and Quetta, will get scanners in phases.
This acceleration of luggage scanner installations is definitely a much needed move – and perhaps one that should have come a long time ago. Its benefits are already visible; according to Mr Chishti, narcotics and illegal weapons have been recovered at the Faisalabad and Karachi stations by using these scanners, resulting in the culprits being arrested.
Other arrangements are simultaneously being made to enhance security at railways stations. The railway police recently procured the latest weapons from Wah Ordnance Factory, and officials have been directed to keep an eye on all passengers without invading their privacy. Explosive-detecting equipment has also been procured for certain stations.
According to a senior officer of railway police, the number of plainclothesmen in moving trains has been increased to ensure greater in-train security. Railway police officials are regularly patrolling within their jurisdictions while pilot engines are being run ahead of the main trains in sensitive areas.