LAHORE - The Mall will remain closed for seven hours today, a handout said yesterday.

According to the government spokesman, Mall Road would remain closed for traffic from Airport to Azadi Chowk from 3pm to 10pm due to security for the visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The official said alternative traffic plan is being publicised in the media for maintaining flow of traffic. He said that due to the visit of Turkish President, the citizens should use alternative route.  He regretted inconvenience to the people due to closure of traffic.

A red-carpet welcome awaits Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in the city today when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has hosted a dinner in his honour at Hazoori Bagh, outside Lahore Fort.

On his arrival in the afternoon the distinguished guest and his delegation will be received by Prime Minister, Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Cabinet members, legislators, senior bureaucrats and the dignitaries.

On the last leg of his two-day visit to Pakistan, Turkish president will spend about four hours in the city which has been tastefully decorated amid tight security arrangements.

From Lahore Airport to Governor’s House down the Mall and to the dinner venue, roads and corners have been illuminated and decorated with hoarders, flexes , posters, welcome banners , flowers, and flags. All arrangements have been completed in the city.

As many as 6000 policemen and security operatives will guard the travel route of the distinguished guest in addition to ensuring security and safety of the honourable guests. Traffic department in the city has devised a diversion plan to keep route of the Turkish President clear and unhindered.

In implementation of the security plan, all commercial centres and shops falling on the route will be shut down two hours before the VVIP movement. Turkish security team has arrived two days ago in the city to check the arrangements.

The Greater Iqbal Park will also remain closed today.