ISLAMABAD: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Monday admitted in a Senate standing committee that it received warning letter from the Interior Ministry about threats to Karachi airport that came under attack a few weeks back.
In view of threats to airports, the prime minister has released Rs 6 billion for making the facilities securer; Senate’s Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat headed by Senator Kalsoom Perveen was informed.
The committee observed that this attack exposed the shortcomings of federal and provincial governments regarding securing vital installations like airports of the country.
CAA Director General Air Martial (r) Yousaf briefed the committee about the attack on airport and termed the reports misleading that some people trapped in cold storage were killed due to suffocation.
Senator Kalsoom felt the need for determining weaknesses that provided terrorists an opportunity to attack the airport suggesting that it should also be ascertained as to whether departments on the security of such sensitive installations were incompetent to discharge their duties or some within these departments were helping the terrorists. She believed that all of the airports were needed to be fully secured as Pakistan was in a state of war, noting that Karachi airport attack sent a wrong signal that Pakistan was not a secured country. CAA Secretary Mohammad Ali Gardaezi said that foolproof security arrangements have been put in place to secure the country’s airports and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has released Rs 6 billion for extra security measures at these installations with approval to induct 500 employees in the authority.
He, however, clarified that the CAA was only responsible for security inside airports premises and police, rangers and other law-enforcing agencies must secure all roads leading to airports. He revealed that orders have been placed with Heavy Mechanical Complex for 50 steel bunkers and APVC for 50 airports of the country. Gardezi informed the committee that land behind the mosque at Islamabad Airport had been taken on lease from Army to expand the parking area at the airport when Senator Saifullah Magsi expressed his concern about security issues at the airport due to rush at entry and exit points of the airport.
Airport Security Force (ASF) Director General Zahir Shah told the committee that security arrangements have been made in such a way that not even a single terrorist can escape if dares to attack any airport in future. The committee also constituted a sub-committee to compile a report about delay in extension project of Gilgit Airport and also about housing schemes around new Islamabad International Airport.
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