LAHORE - Amid growing security threats, paramilitary troops on Friday launched snap-checking at the entry and exit points of the provincial metropolis.

The move comes days after the Interior Ministry approved, at least for 60 days, the employment of paratroopers in the Punjab province under Section II and IV of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The spate of suicide attacks this month prompted authorities to throw a massive security blanket in urban parts of the country, with deployment of Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) in the most populated province.

Security forces, as part of the latest anti-operation codenamed as Radd-ul-Fasaad are also conducting combing operations to hunt down terror suspects across the country.

Rangers personnel yesterday started strict security checking at the entry points of Lahore.

The Opposition parties, for the last couple of years, were demanding the deployment of paramilitary troops in the Punjab province to counter militancy and extremism.

The latest security measure is aimed at intercepting the movement of suspected elements.

The paramilitary troops would remain on-guard at the entry and exit points including Suggian Bridge and New Ravi Bridge.

The troops would also help police search luggage, vehicles and passengers at the entry points. The police and Rangers are directed to ensure non-stop search at the checkpoints.

Many police guards are also deployed at all the entry and exit points of the Punjab capital.

The police are provided computers, biometric machines and Pak-SVAS (a security surveillance apparatus given to Lahore police most recently.) It helps police ascertain the identity of suspected elements and most wanted criminals.

New security advisory

On the other hand, Punjab Inspector General of the police Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera yesterday directed the law-enforcement agency to remain on high-alert with regard to security duties.

“In the wake recent wave of terrorism, a number of directions are issued in a circular sent to the regional and district police officers regarding security and law and order situation,” a spokesman for the Punjab police said on Friday.

The police chief yesterday directed the field officers to further beef up security and physical checking at Masajids, Imambargahs, shrines and other important places. “Movement of the suspicious persons should strictly be monitored and patrolling around sensitive installments should be made more effective,” according to the latest security advisory.

Similarly, strict security search must be ensured of at the entry and exit points of the province and the movement of suspected persons must be monitored and intercepted.

“No laxity will be tolerated in checking of vehicles, motorcycles and persons crossing the inter-provincial check posts. Appropriate action should be taken against persons unable to prove their identity.”

The spokesman further said that the police chief also directed the police to step up security and surveillance at markets, shopping malls, parks, recreational places and educational institutions.

Similarly, working of the officers deployed at such points should be monitored and they should be given special briefings prior to joining the duty points.

According to circular issued from the Central Police Office yesterday, all regional and district police officers are directed to stay in the field and ensure better monitoring of the patrolling units and check points. 

Heavy police guarded Friday prayers

Lahore DIG (Operations) Dr Haider Ashraf yesterday said that more than 10,000 police were deployed across the City to provide security cover to Masajids during Friday prayers.

At least eight SP-rank officers took part in the security operation in addition to 84 Station House Officers.

Officers of the Dolphin Force and Police Response Units continued armed patrolling on the City roads.

The police applied three-layer security for Friday prayers at mosques located in sensitive and important areas. Cops were provided walkthrough gates, metal detectors, barriers and barbed wires to safeguard important locations.

Since the police were on high alert in Lahore, all divisional SPs were on patrol in the metropolis. They visited various mosques and religious places in their jurisdictions to ensure proper security arrangements, spokesman for the City police said on Friday.

POLICE SEARCH OPERATION AT PU

The police started a search operation in Punjab university hostels and many students have been directed to leave the rooms till further orders.

Sources said that the elite police, dolphins and other police persons were present for search operation. A student Abdul Wahid said that the police were checking ID cards and other credentials of the students.

Moreover, the National College of Arts (NCA) has also been closed for one week on security reasons.

The hostel students are also directed to leave hostels for some days.