Friday, November 5, 2010

Minimising security risk: MQM activists, supporters to skip airport, assemble at Jinnah Ground

KARACHI: Authorities have refused to provide security to the crowd expected to turn up at the Karachi airport to receive Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Dr Imran Farooq’s body scheduled to arrive on Saturday morning from London, sources said on Thursday. Considering intelligence agencies’ reports, security officials had suggested the MQM leadership to ask party activists and supporters to refrain from gathering at the airport for minimising risk. Following that, the MQM leadership has directed party activists and supporters to assemble at the Jinnah Ground in Azizabad where Dr Farooq’s funeral will be held. Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik will reach Karachi on Friday (today) and most probably attend Dr Farooq’s funeral the next day. Authorities have yet to finalise security arrangements for the funeral, and they are considering transporting Dr Farooq’s body from the airport to the Jinnah Ground by helicopter. The Sindh Home Department has directed security officials to increase the strength of security personnel on the occasion. Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza has urged the law enforcement agencies to take every possible step to avert any untoward incident. He also directed to deploy extra police contingents with plainclothes personnel from the airport to the graveyard, besides beefing up police picketing and increasing random snap checking. Capital City Police Officer Fayyaz Laghari said 3,000 policemen would be deployed for security during Dr Farooq’s funeral. He also said special monitoring cells have been set up in the offices of East and West deputy inspector generals. The bomb disposal squad will examine the whole route before the funeral procession moves forward. MQM leaders and Malik will receive Dr Farooq’s body on Saturday, and his funeral prayer will be offered the same day, while his body will be laid to rest at Shuhada Qabristan, Yasinabad. atif raza


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