Litter mars airport’s ‘int’l standard’, poses security risk


Allama Iqbal International Airport reflects a sorry state of affairs, giving a picture of a garbage hub similar to that of a bus-stand instead of meeting the criterion of an international airport. Owing to security threats, all dustbins have been removed from the vicinity which has resulted in littering in all corners. At the same time, airport authorities have been giving out contracts to more and more snack outlets which have become a popular hangout place for those who come to pick and drop their friends and family. These outlets are always crowded by people, which in itself is a threat from the security perspective where a terrorist strike could be carried out without much difficulty, Pakistan Today observed.
In addition, the prices of goods at these shops are exponentially higher than market rates. A 1.5 litre cold drink for example, which is available for Rs 70 all across the country, is being sold for Rs 150 at these shops. Similarly, a cup of tea costs Rs 40, coffee Rs 90 and a pack of cigarettes which is sold at Rs 75 elsewhere costs Rs 100 at airport outlets. All goods at these contracted outlets are being sold at 50 to 70 percent above market rates without any check or accountability.
Anwar Rasheed, a resident of Iqbal Town, while talking to Pakistan Today expressed his disappointment over cleanliness at the airport. “The cleanliness here should be exemplary so that people coming from abroad get a decent impression of the country,” he said. He was of the opinion that blocking and clearing roads did not eliminate terrorism, instead there was a need for proper implementation of discipline.
Another resident of the city, Jabir, opined that discipline was lacking in all institutions of the country. “Why do you expect affairs to be any different here?” he said. “They get paid hundreds of thousands in salaries and come to their air-conditioned offices to warm their seats. What impression would this mess give to foreigners visiting the country? If the airports here are such a mess then you can very well imagine the state of other places,” he added.
A shopkeeper at the airport, on condition of anonymity, said that goods are expensive here because officials extort money out of them. “The contracts here are so pricey that we have no option but to sell goods at an extra margin. These men in white uniforms have a civilised way of extorting money from us,” he said.
An Airport Security Force personnel told Pakistan Today on the condition of anonymity that presence of such a large number of people did pose a serious security risk. “Take a look around and see for yourself the heaps of litter lying at various spots. The administration removed the dustbins as a safety precaution but what if someone places a cracker or bomb in the litter? We are vigilant but despite our best efforts there’s still a chance of someone carrying out their sinister plot in the cover of the huge crowds that build up here every hour of the day,” he said.
Civil Aviation Authority Public Relations Officer Malik Kamran told Pakistan Today that a contract bid for an outlet starts around Rs 400,000. He further maintained that the prices at these shops are not much different from market rates.
He was of the view that security arrangements are appropriate and working fine. Responding to a question, he said he would give complete details regarding all queries once a “written document” was faxed to him.


  1. I think Mr. Rana has not been to any other south asian country other than Pakistan. Ha dhe been he would give a different opinion. Our airports are more well maintained as compared to other developing nations. ys, there are flaws, but the wordings used by the writer are much more harsh. plus the garbage writer talks about is mostly because of the irresponsible public. you should watch when the whole village comes to see off hajis going for Umrah. So keeping the airport clean is possible when the authorities and public both play a positive roll. So please do not use such harsh language once speaking about my country Pakistan.

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