Private security booms in violent Pakistan | world | Hindustan Times
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Private security booms in violent Pakistan

Karachi, Pakistan's buzzing port city, is a hub of beaches, malls, restaurants -- and the odd shooting range where an army of private security guards train to protect the well-heeled.

world Updated: Jun 11, 2009 07:26 IST

Karachi, Pakistan's buzzing port city, is a hub of beaches, malls, restaurants -- and the odd shooting range where an army of private security guards train to protect the well-heeled.

As growing insecurity grips the nuclear-armed nation, with the military battling Taliban rebels in swathes of the northwest, deadly bombs hitting key cities and crime on the rise, the security industry in quietly booming.

Rashid Malik, who owns the firm Security 2000, has his men carry out target practice in the basement of a bungalow in an upscale Karachi neighbourhood, but even with 10,000 employees, he is struggling to keep up with demand.

"I have to turn down many requests from people and businesses because I still have not enough capacity to provide security to all the people," said Malik, a retired army brigadier.

"After the army and police, private security guards are the third largest force in Pakistan -- we are just a few years away from outnumbering the police force in the country," he adds.

There are 600 security firms in Pakistan, according to figures from the All Pakistan Security Agencies Association (APSAA), with 200 of them operating in Karachi, protecting businesses big and small, as well as the homes of wealthy clients.