ISLAMABAD - Keeping in view the security situation, the government is going to improve existing security arrangements at four international airports of the country.

The state-of-the-art equipment will be installed at the New Islamabad International Airport, Karachi International Airport, Multan International Airport and Faisalabad International Airport.

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) will be the executing agency and the implementation arrangements would be made by the Airport Security Force, while the Aviation Division remains sponsoring agency of the project.

The project is being presented before the CDWP for its consideration soon.

According to the approved working paper for the Central Development Working Party (CDWP), a copy of which is also available with The Nation, cost of the project would be Rs2,355.345 million.

The project would be completed within 29 months as it would start from March 2018 with completion date of August 2020.

The project is necessitated owing to security issues related to aviation sector, “which may affect smooth operation of aviation sector in line with international standards”, said the working paper.

The project is aimed at improving security standards at the country’s airports.

It envisages strengthening and improving the existing security system at the four international airports by providing and installing state-of-the-art equipment proposed to be arranged under the JICA grant for reduction of risk of terrorism.

Under the project, different equipment including “hold baggage explosive detection system” (EDS-CT and EDS), “liquid explosive detection system”, “explosive trace detection system” and “big vehicle scanner” would be installed at Karachi, Multan and Faisalabad airports, while Islamabad airport would get “big vehicle scanner” only.

According to the paper, in the prevailing law and order situation, terrorist threats in the country and regulations imposed by the international aviation security regulatory bodies, security apparatus is now a top priority.

In the backdrop of terrorist attacks at airports of Pakistan and Turkey, according to the working paper, it has become essential to adopt foolproof security measures at airports.

To comply with international security standards at airports in addition to the already-installed equipment, the additional equipment is proposed to be installed.

Other airports will be taken up in the next phase.

The authorities believe that the security equipment is likely to help increase the number of flights that may enhance revenue of the PCAA and generate further economic activities.

According to the PC-I, the project is proposed to be undertaken through Japanese grant-in-aid.

The Transport and Communication Section, however, commented that it should be clarified as to whether the Economic Affairs Division has been taken into loop and Government of Japan has committed grant amount with or without any condition.

It further commented that it should be clarified as to whether the grant amount was fixed and proposed scope would be implemented within the indicated financial envelop or otherwise.

Keeping in view that grant amount is fixed, then in case, scope increases during execution phase, then how additional funds will be met, it observed.

The Transport and Communication Section further observed that only four airports had been selected in the instant scope for provision of enhanced security measures.

Keeping in view, security issues are related with almost all the airports in the country, how security measures for other airports would be taken care of, it observed.

Tahir Niaz