Sunday’s terror attack in Attock, which killed Punjab’s home minister retired Colonel Shuja Khanzada and a number of others, jolted the federal capital police into taking precautionary measures.
Police sources confirmed that senior officers of the force met on Monday and decided to ensure stricter surveillance and carry out a fresh survey of seminaries in the federal capital area.
A senior police officer, talking on the condition of anonymity, recalled that the last such survey was carried out in January.
“Eight months is a long time during which some teachers and students may have left and new ones would have joined,” he said.
He said no specific tip-off or intelligence report regarding suspected elements has been received.
But when reminded that a joint team of the police and paramilitary forces had inspected some seminaries, including the Lal Masjid-affiliated Jamia Fareedia as part of security measures taken for the Independence Day celebrations, the officer said “Surveillance and intelligence gathering are sometimes scaled down because of other demands,”.
According to another police officer, it has been decided that the Special Branch of the police will carry out “fresh and effective” surveillance of the seminaries.
Senior officers of the force will also be identifying around 20 political and religious leaders, considered to be in danger and the security around them would be beefed up.
“Their private security guards will be scrutinised and guided and their residences checked for possible loopholes in security,” said an official.
The official said there are also threats against over 50 senior bureaucrats. “But it is difficult for the police to provide the same kind of security to everyone,” he said, declining to name those in danger.
Meanwhile, the Station House Officers of police stations will be conducting a survey of the seminaries located in their jurisdiction. Representatives of the Special Branch, the Crime Investigation Department and the Special Investigation Unit will assist them in verifying the “status” of the students and teachers at the seminaries. This status will be cross-checked with the police of their native town.
Moreover, the Special Branch has been asked to mount effective intelligence and surveillance ‘in and around the seminaries’, according to a police officer. “Fresh undercover manpower will be deputed there,” he said.
There are 329 seminaries in the federal capital territory, with more than 28,000 students on their rolls.
Out of these the Deobandi school of thought administers 207, the Barelvis 105, the Ahle Hadith nine and the Ahle Tashii (Shia) eight.