One of Pakistan’s most sensitive airports, the New Islamabad International Airport (IIA), does not have facilities of bomb detection and bomb disposal squads.
According to sources, the security lapse was identified by intelligence last month to the Regional Police Officer (RPO) Sohail Habib Tajik. The intelligence insinuated that IIA being a sensitive airport, should have rescue teams deployed round the clock.
Due to the long distance from the three cities, it will not be easy for the rescue teams and bomb disposal squads to reach the airport on time in case of an emergency situation.
He was informed that currently, the bomb disposal team needs more than one hour to reach there from Rawalpindi.
Following the intelligence report, the RPO Sohail Tajik directed Rawalpindi City Police Officer, and DPO Attock to submit a report in this regard.
Upon contacting, the DPO Attock, Syed Khalil Hamdani said that the police security for IIA has been put in place according to the global standards with the co-ordination of Rawalpindi and Islamabad police. He also admitted the importance of the bomb disposal squad at the airport.
A senior security official at the airport revealed that whenever a suspicious bag or package is found, it is put in a blanket and carried to a ‘bomb ditch,’ which is quite a dangerous exercise.
He said that the issue was brought up several times with concerned authorities but found no positive response.
Though Rawalpindi police have a specialized bomb disposal squad, trained by US experts, their reluctance in deployment at the airport is beyond comprehension.