The spokesperson of The Ocean Mall, a famous shopping centre in Karachi, rubbished reports that the shopping complex was evacuated on Thursday, saying nothing of the sort happened.
Uzma Asim, marketing head of the mall, was speaking in response to claims circulating on social media, suggesting there was some sort of a threat at The Ocean Mall and that it was evacuated on Thursday. The message asked people to be safe and avoid crowded places.
Asim denied the claims but confirmed that the Rangers did conduct a drill earlier today before the mall opened for public.
"Ranger officials briefed us on how to tighten the security of the mall further," Asim said, adding that her team learned of additional measures it could implement to intensify the security.
"It would be counter-productive to disclose the security measures we have taken but rest assured, the arrangement has been intensified and the mall is safe," she said, adding there is absolutely no reason to worry.
A suicide attack on Thursday at the shrine of Sufi Saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, Jamshoro left at least 80 people dead, 20 of them children. Some 250 people were reportedly injured.
The mall's spokesperson added that there is less public today as compared to a rather normal week. "But that is expected given the recent events in the country," Asim added.
'Timely response must be ensured'
Sindh Inspector General AD Khawaja on Friday directed police officials to review the existing security plan for the year 2017 to make it more effective, according to an official statement issued by the police.
"Every information about a security threat must be followed up on and a timely response must be ensured," Khawaja said, directing officials to make fool-proof security arrangements at shrines and mausoleums.
Other than intensifying patrolling and snap checking in the city, the IG told the police to deploy security officers at mosques, imambargahs and other open, crowded places.
Official sources in the police told Dawn.com that security has been tightened in all major shopping centres and commercial areas as well as recreational spots and shrines across Karachi.
Police will be on high alert in Karachi for the next two or three days to meet any eventuality following Thursday's deadly suicide bombing, the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
Rangers, police and bomb disposal units are conducting random security checks across the city, specifically places that are usually crowded, he said.
The step was taken following an alert police received, stating that protest rallies from various religious parties who revered Qalandar are expected to be held across the city.
The official said that the law enforcement officials are apprehensive that terrorists may strike the protesters in these rallies, which is why security has been tightened everywhere.
Owing to the security threat, shrine of Sufi Saint Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Clifton area was also closed, from Friday morning until Friday prayers in the afternoon.
The shrine was opened later in the afternoon for visitors and devotees, a senior police officer said, requesting to remain anonymous.
The sources also said that authorities have asked provincial government to impose ban on pillion-riding for next two to three days.