At least 30 per cent of the Punjab Safe City Authority (PSCA)’s CCTV cameras are reportedly offline, including a crucial camera which would have captured the suspected terrorist planting a bomb in Lahore’s Anarkali Market last week, it has emerged.
Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) had been hopeful that one of the nearly 8,000 CCTV cameras posted across Lahore would provide footage of the terrorist suspects. However, according to an official speaking with Dawn, many of the cameras were not working the day of the blast.
Although the PSCA had intended for the CCTV cameras to aid in anti-terrorism efforts, it was instead a privately installed camera which recorded key video of a suspect leaving the market past Sabzi Mandi, before he slipped out of frame.
“We were hopeful that the man who planted bomb at the heavily crowded Pan Mandi of Anarkali would be tracked down through the PSCA cameras which would help resolve the high-profile case,” the official said.
The PSCA has confirmed that up to 30 percent of it’s CCTV cameras were non-operational last week.
However, according to officials with knowledge of the investigation, the PSCA’s estimate does not account for cameras which were disconnected due to weak 4G signals and electricity outages. Heavy rains, like the ones in Lahore last week, can also inundate the system, which does not have a proper back up system in place.
Instead, the official claims that only one-forth of cameras were found to be functional (approximately 2,000 cameras out of the 8,000 total in Lahore).
“This situation is disappointing for the high command of the LEAs,” the official shared.
A bomb blast in Anarkali Market on Thursday killed three and wounded another 30 people. LEAs are still searching for suspects.