Snipers to secure planes landing routes


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ISLAMABAD – Following the incident of firing at a PIA plane during landing at Peshawar airport, the government has decided to construct security towers around the airstrips at all the major airports of the country and depute snipers for strict surveillance to avert security breaches in future.
It was further decided to conduct detailed survey of the thickly populated localities adjacent to the landing and takeoff strips at all the major airports to minimise the threat of attack on both local and international airliners from these localities, informed the sources in the Civil Aviation Authority and security agencies.
Soon after the bullet fires at PIA plane in Peshawar a high-level meeting with all the heads of concerned departments was called in Islamabad.
Sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting and the decisions taken in it informed The Nation that authorities were perturbed over the gun fires on a commercial aircraft that left a lady passenger dead and two crew members injured. It was decided in the meeting that a comprehensive review of the airports security all over the country be carried out to contain such attacks in future.
Authorities were of the view that it was responsibility of the police to ensure that all security arrangements in the areas adjacent to airports be maintained with the active support of intelligence agencies.
It has decided that in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Islamabad, security towers would be constructed to secure the planes while landing and taking off. Security officials would also be deployed at the new security points at the rooftops of the nearest buildings in the airport proximity.
Authorities expressed concern that almost all the major airports in the country are located in thickly populated areas, which are not considered fully secure by the police, leaving these airports prone to such attacks.
It has been decided in the meeting to review the overall security of all the airports especially their surrounding areas. The authorities are concerned that in case of further attack the future of flight operations would be on stake, sources in CAA said.
It was recommended to obtain certificates from the owners of the properties in the vicinity of airports while they would also be directed to close the windows opening in the direction of the runway on a permanent basis. It was also suggested to install lights at vulnerable places and regular firing practice of ASF guards should be ensured.
It was also suggested that the local police should take strict action against the persons on the 4th schedule and any other suspected persons when found absent from their homes without prior intimation.
The fourth schedule of the Anti Terrorism Act allows the government to place controls on the movement of terrorism suspects.
When contacted, CAA’s public relations manager said that the security of airport is the responsibility of Airport Security Force and outside the airport it is the police who is supposed to secure the surroundings.
To a question, he said that no airline has halted its operations yet.

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