QUETTA: Like other major cities in the country, security was beefed up in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan on Sunday, in view of the possibility of terrorist attacks in retaliation for military operation in North Waziristan.

Red alert has been issued for the airport and some other vital places in the provincial capital. Slums around the airport and PAF’s Smungli Airbase have been removed as has been the terminal for Nato supply containers and other trucks located at the Western Bypass.

Heavy contingents of the Frontier Corps, police, Anti-Terrorist Force and Rapid Response Force have been deployed at vital places.

A meeting of the provincial chief secretary with top officials of security forces and agencies discussed the possibility of terrorist attacks on important government buildings and installations. The security officials were of the view that terrorist attacks could not be ruled out in Quetta and some other areas of Balochistan.

The meeting decided to enhance security at “sensitive” places like Chief Minister House, Governor House, Balochistan Civil Secretariat, Balochistan Assembly, Balochistan High Court, lower courts, railway station, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation and Pakistan Television.

In light of decisions made at the meeting, the venue for VIPs vehicles’ parking at the airport has been changed. Additional watch towers around the airport and the airbase are being erected and the old ones are being repaired.

The security for “red zone” has also been tightened.

“We have banned entry of private security guards on the premises of the assembly and decided that vehicles of ministers and MPAs will also be checked,” Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said. A new parking area will be established in the assembly building for the ministers and MPAs.

Additional personnel of the law enforcement agencies were being deployed in and around the assembly to ensure its safety.

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies launched a crackdown against suspects in different areas and took a large number of suspects into custody.

An operation for recovery of illegal weapons would be launched soon, the minister said.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2014

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