By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Authorities have decided to ban the entry of cars into the parking lot of Skardu Airport owing to security threats.
“No car is allowed to be park inside the airport as part of security,” an official privy to the developments told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.
“The decision will remain effective till November,” said the official, requesting anonymity.
A ‘threat alert’ sent by the Federal Ministry for Interior earlier this week warned that terrorists might target the Skardu airport. It asked local authorities to increase security around the facility.
At 7,500 feet, the Skardu airport has one of the highest runways in the world. It is the largest facility in Gilgit-Baltistan. Usually, PIA’s ATR aircraft fly passengers to and from there. However, last year PIA started flights of the significantly larger Airbus 320s—three times a week—to facilitate passengers.
“An intense security mechanism has been put in place and round-the-clock vigilance was carried out by security forces, including the army,” said an official.
Airport Security Force and other security agencies, the official said, are holding meetings on a daily basis to keep in close liaison. In addition, counter-terrorism exercises have also been conducted at the facility.
G-B Spokesman Faizullah Farak told The Express Tribune that security measures were sufficient enough to ward off any threat.
“Extraordinary security measures have been installed and the army is also there to assist other forces,” Farak said. He added that the threat had been communicated by intelligence agencies.
Earlier this year, a mock drill was also held at the airport.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2016.