LAHORE: About 8,000 policemen have been deployed for a five-layered security plan for the World XI series, said DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf.
Talking to The Express Tribune, he said approximately 2,400 wardens have also been deployed to maintain traffic flow, he added. Police conducted search operations around the stadium before the match started and these search and sweep operations were being conducted for the last many days, Ashraf said.
Security at entry and exit points of the city was also increased. Aerial surveillance of the ground was also conducted. Snipers were deployed at nearby buildings to keep an eye on suspicious people and activity. Men in civvies were also deployed at the event.
Teams of Police Response Unit and Dolphin Squad remained on patrol in nearby areas.
Punjab Safe City Authority (PSCA) had installed over 200 CCTV cameras for live monitoring of security arrangements at the route and inside the stadium. They had also handed over 4-G wireless handsets to SPs for effective communications. These handsets could also be used for live video streaming at the operations room of the safe city. The PSCA’s office was being used as a control room. PSCA Managing Director Amir Malik, at the beginning of the day, briefed the PSCA team on their duties and security plan.
Officials of army and rangers also assisted police in maintaining security arrangements on the occasion. Ten police officers from other districts were also called in for the help of the Lahore Police.
At the beginning of the day, CCPO Amin Wains directed police officers to brief officials about their duty points and asked them to stay at their designated locations until each and every spectator leaves. He had also asked not to let anyone, including women, enter the premises without proper checking.
Before the match, officials of Bomb Disposal Squad, sniffer dogs and the special branch thoroughly checked the stadium and its surroundings. The World XI team was escorted to the stadium with a cavalcade amid strict security measures. Besides vehicles of Elite, Doplhin, PRU, vehicles of army and Rangers were also with the squad.
Ashraf said that Lahore police were using all available resources to protect life and property of citizens.
Punjab Inspector General of Police Arif Nawaz Khan directed Lahore police to ensure foolproof security measures. He asked officers to maintain coordination between different departments and also ordered tight security at educational institutes and places of worship of minorities.
Traffic situation in the city
Although the Azadi Cup is being appreciated by the people, extraordinary measures to ensure foolproof security caused a nuisance for citizens and commuters.
Diversions on roads leading towards Gaddafi Stadium had caused massive traffic jams in the city. Commuters remained stuck and were late to reach their destinations. Businesses points and offices near the Gaddafi Stadium remained closed, which infuriated many as they had to bear financial losses due to business closures. Residents living in areas surrounding Gaddafi Stadium were also disturbed.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2017.