Security beefed up in the federal capital

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Aug 6, 2013.

Islamabad – The Federal Minister for Interior and Narcotics Control Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan chaired a meeting of senior police officers in Islamabad on Monday, as security remained on high alert in the city for the second day amid reports of a terrorist threat.

Sourced told The Express Tribune that intelligence reports have indicated Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are planning to attack sensitive installations in the capital.

The TTP militants, prisoners who escaped during the July 31 Dera Ismail Khan jailbreak, might target government buildings along Constitution Avenue such as the Parliament House, sources said. The Naval complex, the Air Force headquarters and embassies could also potentially be targeted.

On Sunday, 30 joint teams of Police, Navy and Air Force commandoes were deployed in the Margalla Hills after they had conducted a search operation for suspected militants in and around the Hills. In 2012, intelligence reports had emerged that terrorists could use at least three unprotected passages in the Margalla Hills to enter Islamabad from Khanpur in Haripur district. Sources said it is these routes that the joint teams combed on Sunday.

Security has also been beefed up at the Diplomatic Enclave and the Benazir Bhutto International Airport.

During the Monday meeting, Khan ordered the police to remain vigilant and formulate a coherent security plan. He said the Ministry of Interior will equip Islamabad Police with modern weapons and provide the force with logistic support and funds.

He also directed the Inspector General of Police Sikander Hayat to establish a Central Command System in Islamabad for an integrated communications on a priority basis.

Eid Security

In contrast to his predecessor Rehman Malik’s strategy, Khan ordered the police that mobile phones would not be switched off during Eidul Fitr prayers. He said police should improve the overall security arrangements in the capital using effective policing instead.

Khan directed Hayat to come up with a concrete strategy to deal with mushrooming slum dwellings in Bari Amam near Diplomatic Enclave and in sectors I-11 and G-12.

He urged the police to improve their performance to rise up to the menace of terrorism as the country faced a near war-like situation.

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