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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Securing The President

In the wake of recent brutal murder of Governor Taseer, by his own elite security guard, security of the VIP's has become a major issue. Undoubtedly, the act of Mr. Qadri is shameful and pathetic. Much has been written about his deceitful and remorseless behaviour. Equally deplorable is the bizarre outpouring and public sympathy for a cold blooded murderer.

When the President of the country cannot trust his own security personnel and he has to make a plea to the US government to provide him security, that speaks volume about the trust deficit we have in Islamabad. Undoubtedly, the President has many foes from the get go. He has been chastised (in some cases rightfully so), by his detractors on almost every single move he has made, after taking the oath of office.

Despite the political differences, the President holds one of the highest office of the land and should be protected by all reasonable means. The media has criticised this move as well, as it gives the impression that a common man is pretty much on his own. There is some weight in the argument, however another violent incident involving a high profile personality, would be a much bigger blunder.

If the President has to rely on Americans or some other country to provide him with trained and trustworthy security personnel, it should not become a political issue. Repeated political assassinations have tainted our history quite often. GOD forbid one more, would send all the wrong signals to the rest of the world.

Of course the US security personnel should be deployed on a temporary basis. They should train their Pakistani counterparts and a force like US Secret Service must be established. Their primary responsibility should be, to protect the President and the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers. People who take this move as some disgrace to the national pride, should relax a bit and think objectively. Even the darkest incidents provide an opportunity to mend or improve the areas where there is a need. This is one area where there is a dire need.

If we can organise and let a department emerge responsible for securing the key leaders of the country, it will demonstrate that Pakistan is a responsible nation. Securing the life of key personnel will avoid any potential vacuum and chaos, which is rather common in our nation. It will set a precedent for the rest of the nation as well.

Similarly, the foreign consultants should be brought in to conduct independent review of our law enforcement agencies. Based on their recommendations, sweeping measures to reform those agencies must be taken. Once the confidence of general public is restored, only then a common Pakistani would feel equally secured.
All this should be transparent and realistic expectations must be set for the public. This is not a process, which can potentially take effect overnight.

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