LAHORE  - Allama Iqbal International Airport has been put on high alert ahead of former premier Nawaz Sharif’s arrival from London and Airport Security Force has chalked out a strategy to avert any untoward incident on his arrival Friday (today).

The ASF has issued security passes to 20 NAB officials to have access to apron. All departments working at the airport have been directed by their ministries concerned to cooperate with the NAB authorities in connection with the arrest of the former prime minister. Barriers have been placed at some distance from the airport to stop arrival of irrelevant people towards the airport. The CAA will run shuttle service from the airport to those barriers and only one person will be allowed to accompany a passenger. Passengers have been directed by CAA and all airlines to report six hours before international and three hours before domestic flights for boarding. It is worth mentioning here that the former premier and his daughter Maryam Nawaz will arrive by Etihad Airways flight EY-243 from Abu Dhabi to Lahore Friday (today) at 6pm.

A meeting to review the security arrangements at Allama Iqbal International Airport was held Thursday with Col Ali Tipu in the chair, which was attended by officers from different departments working at the airport. CAA has directed all the officers of different departments performing duties there not to use cell phones during duty hours Friday. Special unit of ASF will perform duty at apron that day. Special instructions have been issued to control tower to seek prior permission from the airport manager for landing of any plane Friday. In case of diversion of the Itehad flight, passengers would be taken into confidence so that there could be no resistance from the passengers onboard.

At the entry points of the airport, all passengers would be allowed entry only after showing their tickets and passports for their respective flights. In case of landing of Nawaz Sharif’s flight at the Lahore airport , the NAB officials would be allowed entry along with their vehicles through Hajj Lounge. Sources in CAA claimed no security passes would be issued to the family members of Nawaz Sharif or his party members.

There were rumours in the city that the flight of Nawaz Sharif has been cancelled. When contacted, an official of flight inquiry section of the CAA said total three flights from Abu Dhabi, EY-241 arriving at 2:30pm, EY-243 at 6pm and third that of Air Blue arriving at 7:45pm, were in schedule Friday. He said all flights were on time and none of them had so far been cancelled. CAA has decided not to deploy any union worker of CAA, PIA or any other department having political affiliation with PML-N at the apron side. Intelligence agencies have also gathered information from different departments.

To a question whether Nawaz Sharif will be produced in any court of law or sent to jail after arrest, a NAB officer said since arrest warrants for Nawaz Sharif have been issued, it was not necessary to produce him in any court before sending him to jail.

 

AMRAIZ KHAN