Border securityPakistan phases out U.S.-made border monitoring software

Published 9 June 2011

In 2002 the United States provide sixteen countries with a border-monitoring system called Personal Identification, Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES); Pakistan has now decided to replace the system with a Pakistani-developed system called Integrated Border Management System (IBMS); the government says the reason for the change is the IBMS is more capable, and denies the decision is the result of worries that the United States has access to PISCES-collected information

The government of Pakistan has rejected American offers to upgrade the PISCES border security watch system and decided to replace it with locally developed software so that “the integrity of data will be secured, as opposed to [when using a] foreign software and database.”

and insisted it would develop its own system, said Chaudhry Mohammad Manzoor, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director-General of Immigration, told the Express Tribune that “The government was inflexible on the matter.”

In 2002 the United States provided Pakistan — and sixteen other countries, among them Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen — the Personal Identification, Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) to be included in Pakistan’s Terrorist Interdiction Program. The software was designed to allow immigration and border control officials to document and identify people exiting and entering the country.


The Tribune notes that the FIA is currently phasing out PISCES and replacing it with the Integrated Border Management System (IBMS), which is budgeted at Rs421 million. The IBMS software integrates biometric data and to gives access to visa-issuing authorities, features which Manzoor said PISCES was missing. Also, the PISCESs hardware was fo8nd to be expensive to maintain.

The United States offered to upgrade the PISCES software to give it the missing features, and also provide upgraded hardware, but Pakistan turned down the offer.