Closed-door briefing: As leadership meets, security fears abound

Published: May 13, 2011
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a heavy contingent of Pakistan Rangers and Frontier Constabulary will be deployed to surround the building along with police. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

a heavy contingent of Pakistan Rangers and Frontier Constabulary will be deployed to surround the building along with police. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD /LAHORE: 

As the country’s entire civilian and military leadership congregates at the Parliament House in the federal capital for an important closed-door briefing on the Abbottabad operation today, extraordinary security measures, including aerial surveillance, will be in place, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The special session of the parliament on Friday (today) was called so that the armed forces could brief the country’s civilian leadership on the details of the US’ unilateral raid into Pakistani territory to find and kill Osama bin Laden on May 1-2.

While the skies around the Parliament house will be patrolled by helicopters, a heavy contingent of Pakistan Rangers and Frontier Constabulary will be deployed to surround the building along with police. Snipers will man nearby buildings. And if all else fails, the Pakistan Army has been put on stand-by.

Those attending the meeting include the prime minister, opposition leaders, other heads of political parties, secretary defence, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee, the chief of army staff and the director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Just recently, alarms were set off when a thus-far unreported breach of security of the Parliament House occurred last week.

Reports suggest that a foreign national – said to be Sudanese – was able to enter the premises last week in an apparent bid to survey the security measures.

The matter has been hushed up for now to ensure that there is no panic ahead of today’s important briefing. The enquiry into the matter is being conducted by Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Faisal Karim Kundi.

According to details explored by The Express Tribune, the man was spotted by an MNA just as he was about to leave the premises – but managed to escape capture. The incident was reported by the MNA, who had noted the vehicle number, and the startling breach of security was discovered.

The initial inquiry report into the matter reveals that the man was able to breach the security arrangements using a fake licence plate, and following closely behind the car of an MNA. The security guards, it is said, were under the impression that he car was escorting the MNA’s car – which was not the case.

The guards at the gate say that a gesture by the MNA’s driver was mistakenly taken by them to suggest that the car behind – driven by a ‘foreign national’ – was escorting them.  The gesture, it was revealed during interrogation of the driver, was to tell the guards that another MNA was in the car’s back seat.

Security officials involved in the enquiry fear that the man was surveying the premises in a bid to plot to attack the parliament in reaction to the killing of the al Qaeda chief.

Extra security measures have been taken for such events ever since the massive truck bombing of the Marriot in the capital as President Asif Ali Zardari was addressing a joint session of parliament in 2008.

Late on Thursday, security forces were sweeping the area in and around the premises of the Parliament for any explosive devices.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Mirza
    May 13, 2011 - 8:35AM

    This should have been an open session not closed. In order to minimize the terror threat, it could be made open and on teleconference, so people could be safe in their homes and not all at one place.

    When MQM leader can have big gatherings from London why can’t this hearing be via video-conference?Recommend

  • KR
    May 13, 2011 - 9:38AM

    On behalf of entire country I am asking our incompetent government when should innocent people of Pakistan expect the security situation to get better???????????????? Please quit wasting time in building some stupid coalition just so you can stay in power little bit longer DO SOMETHING OR GET OUT OFF THE WAY and let someone else do something. We all can’t afford to go in self impose exile. Recommend

  • Aristo
    May 13, 2011 - 10:55AM

    When OBL proved to be unsafe in Pakistan, then no body is safe here in Pak. Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    May 13, 2011 - 11:24AM

    Why is it that the public is not being informed about the biggest failure?? Is it too embarrassing?Recommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    May 13, 2011 - 12:04PM

    American satellites would be picking what is being said inside Parliament. So the hearing is closed-door for people of Pakistan only. What kind of fools do these charlatans think we are?? Who are they fibbing??Recommend

  • Ashraf R
    May 13, 2011 - 12:17PM

    Get the Army out of the barracks and ask them to guard the streets of Pakistan. The army is useless. As it is, they are doing nothing. Otherwise the Americans would not conduct an operation while the military were sleeping. Recommend

  • Guy Fawkes
    May 13, 2011 - 12:28PM

    “Man shall reap that which he hast sown. So be it the Law of Justice.”Recommend

  • Zulfiqar Haider
    May 13, 2011 - 12:45PM

    All the leadership should come hold an open session. This closed session shows that they are not ready to face the public. Otherwise, they should come up with a viable answer that can satisfy the people of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Kazmis
    May 13, 2011 - 12:53PM

    All eggs in a basket…?Recommend

  • Butt
    May 13, 2011 - 1:37PM

    India and USA are in an attempt to weaken PAK army, while our army is in a bid to safeguard PAK interests in Afghanistan. India and USA both are trying to destablize Pakistan by feeding terrors working in Balochistan and elsewhere in Pakistan. Musharraf read this script very well and acted accordingly. Sorrowfully a section of the media and a few politicians are helping India and USA to achieve their objectives. Recommend

  • .Explorer
    May 13, 2011 - 2:01PM

    @Billoo Bhaya:

    Folks in the ‘situation room’, White House will be knowing real time. Recommend

  • Aamer
    May 13, 2011 - 2:20PM

    @Butt

    Till when do you want us Pakistani’s to keep on blaming everyone except ourselves for whatever is happening in Pakistan?

    If its US and India that are defaming the Pakistan Army, what is Pakistan Army doing to avert the same? Nothing, they are busy in plots and big business deals, land grabbing and what not. We have been made to believe for all this time that ISI is the best, where is ISI thwarting these ‘designs’ of the outside world?

    Wake up Pakistani’s, its not only the outside world, it us, we are the biggest enemies of Pakistan. Pakistan Army should be dragged and questioned just like the politicians before time runs out, they are not holy cows, they are incompetent beasts.Recommend

  • Yeah Right
    May 13, 2011 - 2:31PM

    @Butt: Have you ever played golf with a general?
    They live in a different country – more like emperors.
    So don’t give us all this codswallop about safeguarding PAK interests . . . the day every Pakistani citizen is answerable to the same law and the government is answerable to the people (and the armed emperors answerable to the government) – that is when PAK interests are being safeguarded.
    WAKE UP!!!Recommend

  • Maulana Diesel
    May 13, 2011 - 3:10PM

    @Butt…..how is Salman Butt doing these days?Recommend

  • mind control
    May 13, 2011 - 3:11PM

    @Butt

    India and USA both are trying to destablize Pakistan by feeding terrors working in Balochistan

    Two questions come to mind,

    A. Is Charsadda or the HQ of TTP in Balochistan?

    B. If India and US are causing mischief in Balochistan, why is Kayani promising to rein in the Pak Army?

    Something smells fishy here.
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/151932/back-to-barracks-in-two-months-promises-kayani/Recommend

  • Lobster
    May 13, 2011 - 3:14PM

    @Kazmis:

    All eggs in a basket…?

    you mean : All the dirty eggs in a basket…? then answer is yes.

    End result: status quo, nobody would resign as no one was responsible. In fact, they will find out the USA is responsible so Admiral Müllen should resignRecommend

  • Saad Duraiz
    May 13, 2011 - 3:55PM

    “And if all else fails, the Pakistan Army has been put on stand-by.”
    I am ashamed to say I hope it doesnt get down to that. :P Recommend

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