RAWALPINDI, Dec 18: After the terrorist attack in Peshawar, law enforcement agencies here reviewed security around Chaklala Airbase and the Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) and decided to further tighten the security measures there.
Sources said in response to the attack on the PAF base in Peshawar, police and intelligence officials along with other security agencies carried out a survey of the surrounding areas of the Chaklala Airbase.
When contacted, Israr Ahmed Abbasi, the senior superintendent of police (operation), told Dawn that security had been tightened around the airbase and the BBIA.
He said as part of the reviewed security, round-the-clock patrolling by elite force commandos along the runway had been started. Besides, more police personnel have been deployed at the pickets.
The SSP said manpower at the police pickets close to the takeoff and landing sites of the airport had also been increased.
“Police have been trying to ensure foolproof security along the surrounding areas while the Airport Security Force (ASF) is fully prepared to protect the airport from inside,” the SSP said.
The sources said police had already informed the authorities concerned at the PAF base and the airport that there were some spots (boundary wall of low height) which could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks. The authorities were requested to take all possible measures to make those areas secure.
A senior security official, who requested anonymity, added that the security level at Chaklala Airbase and the BBIA was placed on ‘red alert’ soon after the Peshawar PAF base incident. However, later the alert level was brought down to ‘high’ and then to the normal.
“There was no specific threat to the PAF base Chaklala or the BBIA. But it was feared that terrorists might strike these installations after the Peshawar incident,” said a senior security official who also requested anonymity.
Meanwhile, security agencies arrested two suspected persons from Dhoke Lalial near the airport soon after the terror attack in Peshawar. Sources said one of the suspects was carrying a Kalashnikov and the other was armed with a pistol. They were found wandering close to the airport’s runway area. The suspects, who belonged to Mansehra, were taken to an undisclosed location for investigation.
However, according to sources, preliminary investigation showed that the two had no link with the Peshawar incident. When contacted, the police said they were not aware of the arrests, adding it could have been made by intelligence agencies.
Yaqoob Malik adds: Security has been further beefed up in the cantonments of Attock, Kamra and Sanjwal.
The defence installations like Pakistan Ordinance Factory (POF) and the artillery regimental centre in Attock cantonment have also been put under tight security.
Special security arrangements and surveillance have been put in place around the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and PAF Minhas base, which was targeted by terrorists in August this year.
Police and elite force personnel have been put on high alert in all parts of the district and their presence has been increased in all the sensitive points particularly around the POF Sanjwal and artillery regimental centre, the district police headquarters and the civil administration. All subdivisional police officers and station house officers have been directed to keep an eye on the movement of outlaws.