LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) drew irk from the capital city police after they floated a proposal for organising two Independence Day music concerts in the provincial capital without seeking the required security clearance, local media reports have informed.
As per an official source, LDA Director General Amina Imran Khan revealed plans of holding two mega music concerts, one at the Gaddafi Stadium and the other in a Sports Complex in Johar Town, on 14th of August. Citing official estimates, Khan told the police that due to free entry, over 50,000 people are expected to attend the event at the Gaddafi Stadium and more than 30,000 at the other site.
The matter was discussed among the police high-ups and put forward before the district intelligence committee comprising officials of intelligence agencies, police, home department, district administration and others.
The committee, however, rejected the idea after it was informed that the intelligence agencies had warned of threats with regard to Independence Day celebrations in the provincial capital.
The police high-ups conveyed to the LDA director general about the committee’s decision, requesting her to drop the plan.
The police officers, also told Ms Khan that such mega events on the Independence Day in Lahore had been almost “unmanageable” in the past because of the large crowds.
She was also informed that the police and other law enforcement agencies were to provide security to over 100 official ceremonies the same day, besides covering the VVIPs and other important personalities.
The police also pointed out loopholes in the LDA’s plan to hold the events with tickets, warning that it might result in huge “uncontrollable” gatherings where a stampede was apprehended, besides other unpleasant incidents.
They also warned of positional risks to the participants because of the large crowds, including motorcyclists, that were expected to almost clog the city roads on the day.
However, sources said that the LDA head rejected the concerns and insisted that police should provide the security required for the concerts or she would complain to the higher authorities about their “non-cooperation”.
Later, the matter was again discussed in a couple of joint meetings held on Saturday where the Lahore police strongly rejected the LDA plan citing the reasons mentioned earlier.
The police also wrote an official letter to the LDA DG, categorically stating that the authority’s management would be responsible if any untoward incident occurred (during or because of the concerts) on the Independence Day.
“We have taken up the issue with the Punjab IG after the LDA director general rejected our concerns regarding the two concerts”, Operations DIG Shahzad Akbar said.
He said the DG LDA’s rigid stance on the issue despite serious security threats was “incomprehensible” and that the holding of concerts with free entry was a grave risk.
“We have categorically intimated the LDA that the police would not be able to provide security to its programmes, nor it would be responsible for any untoward happening”, the DIG said.
The LDA director general refused to comment on the issue, saying she had received a call from the Chief Minister Office for giving a presentation regarding the plan on Monday and to discuss the security issues surfacing with regard to the two events proposed by the authority.