LAHORE - For the first time, at least 1,000 CCTV cameras have been made operational in the provincial capital as international cricket has returned to the country.

Helicopters were seen hovering over the sky  On Tuesday evening as Pakistan and World XI players left hotel for Gaddafi Stadium to start the much-awaited match, involving foreign players on Pakistani grounds.

A senior official of the Punjab Safe City Authority told reporters that more than 200 CCTV cameras were activated only on the route of the players (from hotel to stadium) to monitor every object from the central control rooms.

“All (CCTV) cameras installed in Lahore as part of the safe city authority project are made operational. Our mobile teams are on patrol around the venue,” DIG Amir Malik said.

Dozens of officials are working in different shifts at the police operation rooms to ensure round the clock monitoring of several city roads. Four special surveillance vehicles are also deployed around the stadium for security monitoring.

Earlier on Tuesday, the city police citing security reasons closed several major roads in Lahore. The roadblocks caused traffic mess in several parts of the city particularly on the Canal Road. There was bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Ferozpur Road near Kalma Chowk and Canal Road near FC College underpass.

Police threw a massive security blanket across the metropolis on Tuesday after and intensified armed patrolling on all major roads. Paramilitary troops, police, intelligence operatives, and counterterrorism personnel are also engaged in one of the biggest security operations in Lahore.

Security has been heightened across the metropolis since last week. Hundreds of paramilitary troops are also assisting the provincial law enforcing agency to ensure best security arrangements for the rare event.

Police commandoes, patrolling squads, and anti-riot units were seen patrolling on major city roads while several police reserves are put on standby. A good number of plainclothesmen will also deployed at various points to keep a vigilant eye on the activities of the suspected persons. Big lights are also installed with heavy generators on both sides of players’ route from the hotel to the stadium as part of security measures.

Since last week, the counter-terrorism department personnel and police have launched door-to-door searches to hunt down suspected elements in residential and commercial areas located near the Gaddafi stadium and around the hotel.