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Lahore airport killing.

WHILE airports are supposed to be high-security zones, a chilling attack on Wednesday at the Lahore airport has exposed the loopholes criminals and terrorists can exploit to target these sensitive facilities. As reported, two hired assassins shot and killed a passenger arriving from Saudi Arabia along with a taxi driver in an apparent revenge attack. The passenger in question Zain Ali was on bail in the murder case of a Punjab-based PPP leader. Police officials in Lahore told the media that the brother of the slain leader had organised the hit from Dubai. But what is more shocking is that the suspected shooters made their way to the arrivals area with relative ease; they had apparently hidden their weapons under the seat of the taxi they were riding in and went undetected through the security cordons.

On the surface this case exposes the rampant culture of revenge in this country; people apparently have no patience with the justice system and decide to settle disputes themselves. However, more serious questions arise regarding the security at airports, and the preparedness of the Airport Security Force. There must be a full inquiry into how armed individuals made it to the arrivals lounge. Had it not been for the heroism of a police constable, who overpowered the gunmen, the death toll may have been higher. Clearly, a security audit of all airports in Pakistan is in order. In this case, armed men out to kill a particular individual were able to penetrate the security cordon of a major airport like Lahore; if they had been militants, then one can only imagine the consequences. Moreover, in the past there were reports of security personnel using bomb-detection sticks based on 'junk science' at airports. The equipment had been exposed as a fraud when a British company was found to be selling the phony bomb detectors in Iraq. Ultimately, the state needs to take a long, hard look at airport security and plug the loopholes that are putting people's lives at risk.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jul 5, 2019
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