The federal government had given approval for 10 vehicles costing Rs550 million on the directive of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Five armored vehicles, named Dragon, have been dispatched for different airports across Pakistan, while five others would likewise soon be released after getting finishing touch. The vehicles are made in Heavy Industries Texila.
Director General ASF Maj General Sohail Ahmed Khan told ARY News that Dragon would be performing services at the airports of Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta and Peshawar. While, five more state-of-the-art armoured vehicles would be handed over to ASF next month.
He said every passenger travelling through Pakistan airports was safe because of strict security measures adopted by ASF and Dragon would further enhance security around airports.
Sources said had ASF got these armoured vehicles before the Karachi airport attack in June 2014 would not have taken place. 10 militants armed with automatic weapons, a rocket launcher, suicide vests, and grenades had stormed Jinnah International Airport Karachi killing 36 people, including all 10 attackers, and leaving 18 others injured. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for the attack.
Sources further said Dragon can bear any bullet of advanced weapons and it features turbo speed. This is the first time ASF is getting armoured vehicle.
It may be noted here that the ASF had demanded Rs500 million to replace its old weapons with the new ones around four years ago. However, the demand was not entertained.
A senior official of the ASF had briefed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence that the ASF possesses obsolete and outdated arms and ammunition, which poses a serious threat to the security of airports.
The committee was further informed that the arms carried by personnel of the ASF needed to be replaced with sophisticated weaponry to counter any security threat effectively.