* Mehmoodul Hassan was carrying disassembled handgun in luggage
* Passenger says airports around the world have scanners to detect weapons
* ASF claims such technology not available to them
LAHORE: A man managed to sneak a disassembled handgun right up to the domestic flight counter at the Allama Iqbal International Airport on Sunday, despite the tall claims of elaborate security measures put in place by the Airport Security Force (ASF).
Mehmoodul Hassan was scheduled to Karachi onboard Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK 315 at 7am. He arrived at the airport at 6am, nearly an hour early. However, after he made it past initial checking, security staff deputed at the luggage scanners discovered the dismantled parts of handgun of Spanish make in his luggage. According to airport sources, the parts were spread out in the man’s luggage.
This is the second incident of its kind reported at the Lahore aiport. On February 19, Farhan Saeed Butt, a passenger on Karachi-bound PIA flight PK 317, was stopped for body search at the first checking counter, where security personnel discovered a Japanese pen pistol concealed in his trousers.
This latest incident raises fresh questions about the effectiveness of the security measures in place at the airport. Talking to Daily Times, passenger Muhammad Talha, a UK-based Pakistani businessman, said, “The number of visitors and tourists coming to Pakistan is steadily diminishing due to the growing number of terrorist attacks. They feel unsafe coming here, because most people enter the country through its airports.”
When asked how he would reconcile added security with the inconveince to passengers that would result if security personnel began checking each and every person who came into the airport, he said “At airports around the world, high-tech scanners are used to detect any kind of weapon or explosives without having to stop individuals or vehicles. Scanners can be installed here (at the Lahore airport) as well… nothing is more important for us than security right now.” A senior ASF official told Daily Times that metal and explosive detectors were installed at the entry points to the airports, but the equipment currently available was inadequate when it came to detecting disassembled weapons. “For such detailed checking, we need high-tech scanners in the parking… that technology is currently not available in Pakistan… we will definitely install these scanners at the three main airports as soon as we get them.”
ASF had tightened security at the airport after the attack on Tipu Truckanwala, when the killer had managed to carry a handgun into the parking lot. At the time, ASF had said the that weapon could not be detected in spite of the thorough checking that each incoming vehicle is subjected to.