The Islamabad International Airport, one of Pakistan's most security-sensitive zones, does not have bomb detection and disposal squads, according to a media report on Thursday. Intelligence officials brought the issue to the notice of the Regional Police Officer (RPO) Sohail Habib Tajik last month, Dawn newspaper reported.
As per the intelligence, the Islamabad airport, which is surrounded by wooded area, should have a constant presence of rescue teams as it is 28 km from Islamabad main city, the newspaper quoted sources as saying.
Rawalpindi (33) and Attock (82) are the other cities close to the airport but they are at a distance of 33 km and 82 km respectively. Due to the distance, rescue teams and bomb disposal squads cannot reach the airport premises on time in case of emergencies, the newspaper said.
The intelligence also asked for stationing of detection dogs. Following the intelligence, RPO Tajik had directed Rawalpindi City Police Officer and Attock District Police Officer (DPO) to submit a report on the matter. Speaking to Dawn, Attock DPO Syed Khalid Hamdani said the security of the Islamabad airport has been put in place according to international standards by Rawalpindi and Islamabad police.
Meanwhile, a senior security official has described the archaic, unsafe standard operating procedure put in place when suspicious bags or items are seen abandoned at the Islamabad airport. The security officials put a blanket on the item and then shift it to a 'bomb ditch' which, the official said, was a dangerous routine.
He said he had written several letters to the authorities concerned regarding deployment of bomb disposal and detection squads but his efforts were in vain.
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