Pakistan’s law enforcement agency will be installing tracking anklets on 1600 people placed on Fourth Schedule (terror suspects) to monitor their movement. This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that electronic surveillance equipment is being used to track any terrorist activity. According to an official, the tracking anklets have already been bought and the installation process will start by the end of this month. This will help law enforcement agencies to keep track of suspect’s movement and get solid leads on lead terrorists.
A tracking anklet sends a radio frequency signal with a location and other information at regular intervals to a receiver. The person wearing the device is instructed to remain within an allowed range. If any person violates this rule, the police will be notified immediately. Also, one cannot tamper with this device as well which means that an alert is sent out if anyone tries to cut the band off.
A few months ago, after the dreadful Peshawar attack that took 161 innocent lives, the government of Pakistan decided to implant microchips under the skin of terror suspects. The government had even procured 5,000 microchips for the tracking purpose, however, the decision drew a lot of criticism from human rights groups. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Chairperson Zohra Yousaf said, “This is harassment and invasive. Such techniques violate almost every fundamental right a person has.”
An official of Counter-Terrorism Department told Express News that the government was considering to inject a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip near the knees of suspects. The chip will carry their bio-data and criminal records. These chips can then be tracked and scanned with special instruments.
Former Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jehangir commented on this option, “ There are provisions in law to place hand collars on certain suspects released on bail. Implanting microchips in people is a denigration of human dignity.”
With the track record of law-enforcement agencies, human right activists seem to have legitimate concerns. Last year, a 9-month old baby, Muhammad Mosa Khan, in Pakistan was charged with attempted murder, threatening police and interfering with the state affairs. Such incidents undermine the fact that whether or not terrorist suspects do actually have terrorist links.