Private hostels posing security threats. Mismanagement at hostels as owners only interested in cutting costs
Lahore, Mar 25: Private hostels of the city are posing security threats, as poor management allows potential terrorists to use these hostels to stay and plan activities elsewhere in the city.
Sources in the Police Department said that private hostels do not take necessary measures before renting out their rooms. The rules and regulations of most hostels of the city are extremely lenient, allowing anyone to rent a room without having to show identification or other documents. Sources said the department does not have any data about these hostels.
Private hostels are situated in the following areas: Gulberg Town, Mozang, Faisal Town, Township, GOR-I, Garhi Shahu, Iqbal Town, Thokar Niaz Baig, Ichhra and Cantonment. According to a survey conducted, around 40 private hostels are situated in Gulberg while the total count of private hostels in the city crosses 150.
Mismanagement: Most hostels of the city have not taken any measures to enforce rules and regulations. They are owned and run by businessmen who aim to maximise their profits by cutting down the costs. Consequently, the hostels’ security is compromised and many such hostels do not even hire security guards.
In most hostels, there is an acute shortage of administrative and maintenance staff. However, in hostels where administrative officials are hired, the owners only question the staff about the monthly rent. It has been learnt that private employees are running the hostels’ affairs and they do not focus on Standard Operation Procedure, as they are not professional administrators. Muhammad Ismail, an administrative official at a private hostel, said the hostel had displayed rules and regulations at the entrance lobby, but it was difficult to implement them when the hostel was housing many more people than it had space for.
No identification: An employee at Alnoor hostel said students were only offered rooms after they submitted identity cards. He said there were no frequent checks on the students’ activities, as the hostel was not responsible for that. Sources at the hostel said copies of identity cards lying in the hostel’s records were only a formality, as many people did not hand their own identity cards knowing the hostel administration would not bother to match the picture with their face.
A student at Noorani Hostel in Firdos Market said students could accommodate guests at the hostel after paying guest dues. He said the administration never checked the status of guests and was only interested in the extra money generated through guest dues. He said all sorts of people ended up visiting the hostel, and it provided a safe haven to criminals and other proclaimed offenders.
Police: Meanwhile, sources in the Police Department expressed concern over the security threats posed by such private hostels. They said the police had previously seized dangerous weapons from the Punjab University hostels and the problem had been persisting since years.
Public Relations Officer to Operations Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Nayab Haider confirmed the police did not have any record of private hostels in the city. Other sources in the Police Department said the police had been instructed to prepare profiles of students residing in private hostels and to collect data about the hostels and their administration after the terrorist attacks at Liberty.
After the attacks, grenades and bloodstained clothes were recovered from a hostel in Gulberg. Two Afghans and 10 locals were detained from these hostels while another 35 were taken into custody for preliminary investigation. The police also seized five Kalashnikovs, 12 hand grenades, 12 magazines and 1,280 bullets from the Punjab University hostels. Daily Times