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Lax security at Pakistani airports

Publication Date : 14-07-2014


When the attack in Karachi a month ago was followed by pledges to beef up security at all airports in the country, those aware of the challenges pointed out the difficulties in securing public places.

The firing at an aircraft about to land in Peshawar a few days later, added greater urgency to the calls for stricter protective cover.

The airports had been targeted all too easily, and there was a dire need for shielding them from further attacks.

But even though it is always tempting to give statements that matters will be improved, the job of securing public places such as airports is easier said than done.

Primarily, these facilities have to be run as normally as possible, minimising the chances of panic.

The task is particularly demanding in a country where airports are more than just conduit points for passengers. I

n Pakistan, receiving and sending off friends and family at the airport is akin to a collective social obligation.

Thus the security staff here has a real job on their hands. They have reacted in various ways, such as by coming up with plans to have security posts surrounding the airports and imposing a ban on more than one person receiving or seeing off an individual or a group at any Pakistani airport.

But by and large there is disturbing news of lax security at airports. If the past is any guide, the further in time we travel from recent incidents, the more negligent security will become.

A report in this paper on Friday about the situation at the Karachi airport exposed holes in the supposedly tightened security net, while there are reports from elsewhere that the protective cover at various other airports needs to be improved.

Already, there are signs that complacency may be setting in.

The people may be at times a bit unnerved by additional security measures and they might complain of inconvenience, but with memories of recent unfortunate occurrences fresh in the memory, more urgent are the calls for strictly implementing current security measures and introducing others for the best possible protection.

Lack of proper implementation — as evidenced in news reports in recent days — drains security pledges of their substance and leads to distrust among people.

Reassurances can only be believed when the rules are obeyed, without exception and when new steps, truly addressing the enormity of the problem, are introduced.


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