PACRA assigns first ever security grading in South Asia

Karachi: PACRA, Pakistan Credit Rating Agency, has assigned security grading to Wackenhut Pakistan (Pvt.) Limited, which is a part of the Pathfinder Group. This is the first ever security grading of a private security company in South Asia. This was announced by Mr. Adnan Afaq, Managing Director PACRA, at a Certification Ceremony held in Karachi on Saturday, Oct 25, 2014.

Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, who was to grace the occasion as the Chief Guest, could not make it due to an unscheduled official engagement. However in his message to the participants, Sartaj Aziz appreciated PACRA’s efforts in developing a comprehensive methodology based on extensive research to develop a structured process of security grading in Pakistan and congratulated Ikram Sehgal Chairman Pathfinder Group on the achievement of Wackenhut Pakistan Private Ltd.

Mr Qasim Nawaz Managing Director State Bank of Bank of Pakistan (SBP) represented Mr Ashraf Wathra Governor SBP. Mr Ashraf Mehmood Wathra’s message was “Though security is of immense concern in today’s time, the agencies providing the service have not received enough attention. But such a rigorous security grading is very important as we must not compromise on safety at any level”. All the speakers at the occasion emphasized the importance of security grading of private security companies in the changing security paradigm in Pakistan

The other speakers were Federal Minister of State for Privatisation, Mohammad Zubair, Dr Ishrat Hussain, Dean and Director IBA (and former Governor SBP), Mr Tawfiq Husain, Secretary General Pakistan Banks’ Association (PBA) and former Deputy Governor SBP, Khalid Mirza former Chairman SECP and Adnan Afaq MD PACRA.

Adnan Afaq said, “The security grading – the first ever in Pakistan and in South Asia – will go a long way in the development of this very important sector.” He also expressed his views on the “Changing paradigm of private security services in Pakistan”, shedding light on the process of security grading and why it is extremely necessary in the present security circumstances in Pakistan. “This security grading is basically an opinion on the ability of a company to provide protection services.”

He highlighted the fact that there has been a mushroom growth in security companies which has led to increased competition and a severe price war, reduction in rates, pressure on margins and compromise on service quality, leading to weak guard verification. Bringing the price down lead to compromise of the quality, untrained guards being hired. Who remain ill equipped with no contingency backups thus seriously impairing the level of protection the security companies purport to provide”. He added, “In comparison, PACRA’s solution provides understanding of the key operations and the associated risks. It also helps the security agency in identifying its own strengths and weaknesses and helps the regulator to improve overall standards and compliance.”

Ikram Sehgal said that private security companies are the sum total of their employees, and that it was a matter of satisfaction that Wackenhut employees had impressed such a hard taskmaster like PACRA to give the company a “STRONG” grading. He said there is room for improvement and that security grading will provide a level playing field in the evaluation process, which at present is dependent upon the uneven expertise and evaluation by different experts.

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