Airport Security

The director general of Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) strong words about airport security agencies should be taken very seriously. The DG was speaking at a meeting for the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation. A lot of what he stated has been known to many that have travelled outside Pakistan and have crossed paths with Customs, the Airport Security Force (ASF) or the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF)—it is hardly a pleasant experience.
Apart from being subjected to baggage checks three times for some unknown reason—where each step is essentially the same as the last—there are multiple other hoops travellers have to jump through, often with little to no explanation. The processes and rules that govern these exchanges are often kept unclear on purpose so that these state officials can use them against passengers to make a quick bribe through the threat of a missed flight, jail time or just plain harassment.
It is unclear why the rules governing airport security are so muddled here in Pakistan. There should be no cause for three security services to operate with overlapping jurisdiction at all airports. There are avenues for corruption and mismanagement and the rules in place all but ensure that these loopholes remain in place, to the detriment of travellers.
Apart from this, there is a trend among government employees to be incessantly rude to anyone they interact with while on duty. Reforms must be made—both to improve transparency and remove problematic practices and harassment, and to improve the overall behaviour of airport security as state employees. Airports are the first impression for foreign citizens, and expatriates and also an important gateway for local citizens. We need to improve the public service being provided at terminals and all surrounding areas.

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