KARACHI: Public sector hospitals in Karachi need to review their security arrangements in collaboration with law enforcement agencies to protect lives of doctors, paramedics, nurses as well as general public from terrorist attacks, said Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) General Secretary Dr SM Qaiser Sajjad.
Security of major government hospitals like the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Civil Hospital Karachi, National Institute of Child Health, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and others should be enhanced on modern lines with a permanent deployment of trained security guards, police, Rangers and personnel of other law enforcement agencies, a statement issued recently quoting the PMA general secretary as saying.
He said that monitoring rooms, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, walk-through gates, metal detectors, vehicle scanners and other security instruments were needed to maintain foolproof security of hospitals round-the-clock.
Dr Sajjad said although screening of vehicles and visitors was not an easy task for security guards and law enforcement agencies, saving precious lives of doctors, nurses, paramedics and citizens was more important than any other thing. He said better coordination between law enforcement agencies and hospitals administration was also needed to counter to any untoward situation.
Earlier, the security at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and National Institute of Child Health had been increased by deployment of extra police and Rangers personnel on an intelligence advisory regarding a possible terror attack on the healthcare facilities.
Sources said that law enforcement agencies in a letter had stated that terrorists affiliated with the al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) had conducted a reconnaissance mission at the two healthcare facilities and could be planning an attack on either of the hospitals.
The letter said doctors, paramedics and patients could be held hostage during the attack and the terrorists could also carry out an explosion with the help of an improvised explosive device (IED).
National Institute of Child Health Director Prof Dr Jamal Raza said that security of the institution had been beefed up in the light of law enforcement agencies’ directive. He said although a control room, CCTV cameras, security guards and other screening equipment were available to check vehicles and visitors but such measures were been enough to avert any possible terrorist attack.
In the past, a powerful bomb blast took place outside the Accident and Emergency Department JPMC, killing and injuring dozens of people while a similar blast was also occurred at the Civil Hospital Quetta about one year ago.
Former JPMC executive director Prof Dr Anisuddin Bhatti had already sought Sindh’s government assistance for provision of trained guards and installation of walk-through gates, and other security instruments for the security of the health facility