Lahore - Pakistan faces threats from terrorism and cannot afford not to plug lapses and loopholes created by years of negligence and false sense of security. A series of attacks on high value security targets such as GHQ, Mehran Base and now Kamra Base expose serious gaps in security. Emergence of residential cum commercial construction on periphery of these sensitive locations is an act which has proved disastrous for our national security. Those who gave permission to allow marriage halls to be built within the sensitive zone of Mehran Base have to share responsibility for this security breach which resulted in loss of four aircraft, radars, hangars and lives of many officers.
The very purpose of creation of cantonments is nullified when instead of housing our soldiers and compounds for training and storage of ammunition etc, it is used for civilian accommodation and other public use. This area given by state for national security has fallen prey to real estate hunger of the top military brass. The fact that sterile zone which is essential for safety of these vital national security instalments was allowed to be violated by Cantonment Boards and high command of our sensitive organizations, only proves that commercial gains of few greedy individuals have compromised security concerns.
When these vital national security installations were built, they were located far away from residential areas and public access was restricted. However, the military takeovers by Zia and Musharraf gave prominence to so called welfare projects which have ended up making security of our sensitive military establishments a very difficult task to manage. If the security establishment allows residential housing societies to be built around the periphery of our civil and military airports, bases and headquarters, it poses a threat to our national security. Even our civilian airports at Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar etc located within cantonment areas have seen the construction of residences, marriage halls, clubs and commercial food warehouses around them which has resulted in having these airports declared dangerous by ICAO and IFALPA because of increase in threat of birds hits to aircraft in take off and approach phase.