LAHORE - It was not less than total pandemonium at Lahore airport when the invited reporters were stopped by Airport Security Force (ASF) to cover the mock emergency exercise at apron side yesterday.

All the reporters were invited by CAA to cover the drill but poor coordination between Civil Aviation and ASF resulted in the unpleasant incident.

An exercise was scheduled to be held at Allama Iqbal International Airport (AIIAP) Lahore, and to make the event closer to reality the CAA had arranged to extinguish a large scale fire with the help of latest high tech CAA Crash Tenders at the airport.

Thereafter, the simulated injured were rescued promptly from the aircraft by the CM Fire Fighters and handed over to Medical Services to provide necessary first aid to the casualties on site and transported them the nearest hospital for medical aid.

When the reporters reached the airport, some of them were allowed to visit the venue while others were stopped by ASF personnel at Concourse hall entrance due to reasons best known to them. Half of the media men who entered the inside of airport demanded the entry of their peers.

But despite the assurance and interference of Airport Manager Rashid, the ASF staff did not allow the reporters to enter.

The media men staged a protest and boycotted the exercise, demanding entrance of their beat fellows too.

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority claimed that it was a Full Scale Airport Emergency Exercise in which 19 departments and rescue departments participated including CAA Fire and Medical Services, the Punjab Emergency Services Rescue - 1122, Pak Army, PAF, City District Government, Health Services, PIA, Ambulances of various Hospitals and Edhi Foundation.

In the end of the exercise, another unpleasant incident took place when Airport Manager wanted to talk to media persons and an officer of CAA, Mohay-ud-Din who is basically from ASF but serving in CAA on deputation basis, manhandled the journalists and asked them to leave the security area.

The whole scene was created in the presence of seniors CAA officers, which left the reporters agonised once again.

When contacted, Airport Manager Rashid told The Nation that he has started an inquiry against Mohay-ud-Din on his misbehaviour with journalists.

About the mismanagement at the airport, he said: “Yes there was mismanagement in the ceremony since permission was sought from ASF for limited journalists but at the time of coverage there were more reporters who were stopped by ASF.”