LAHORE - Amid serious threats to the law and order in the provincial metropolis, Lahore police on Friday observed hours-long general hold-up by setting up surprise pickets across the provincial metropolis to check the movement of miscreants.

According to sources, the police detained many suspected persons during the crackdown. The suspects were shifted to the police stations for ‘interrogation’, after they failed to produce identity papers.

A police spokesperson said that special pickets were also set up at leading roads; key government installations; and around shopping malls and business centers.

“Search operations against suspected elements are also underway and the lawmen are directed to remain on their toes since we are receiving serious security threats,” Lahore DIG (Operations) Dr Haider Ashraf said, when contacted.

“Since the Pak Army has launched the full-scale military operation - Zarb-e-Azb - against the local and foreign militants, the possibility of any terror attack in any part of the country cannot be ruled out,” the Lahore police chief (Operations) said.

Fearing the possible backlash, the government has already directed the provincial authorities to take unprecedented security measures to provide protection to the lives and properties of the public. Security experts say the heavily armed militants would try to target key government installations and packed public places on the pattern of Wagah border carnage.

It has also been learnt that the Interior ministry had asked the Punjab government to step up security around important locations including airport, prisons, and, police headquarters.

Cops were seen searching suspected vehicles in several parts of the city on Friday afternoon to check illegal weapons and explosive material. Even the policemen at some pickets were witnessed searching the luggage of passengers and passersby.

During the general hold-up, the traffic policemen were tasked to ensure smooth flow of traffic as the surprise pickets hindered traffic movement in many parts of the provincial capital.

Police also stepped up snap-checking at the entry and exit points of the city, where hundreds of cops are taking part in the campaign launched against outsiders.

A police officer said that special security measures are taken in the metropolis on the orders of Lahore CCPO Muhammad Amin Wains to unearth suspected persons, especially outsiders.

The policemen also searched many seminaries; hotels and inns; workshops and houses located in the different parts of the city. Field Officers are directed to carry-out armed patrolling in the sensitive and most sensitive areas. The law enforcing agencies are receiving serious threat alerts.

“Apart from general warnings, there are some specific threats involving important installations in the big cities, a senior official told this reporter.