Clinton visits Lahore under heavy security
An extensive security blanket was clamped on this eastern Pakistani city today for a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and key roads and public areas were declared "no go areas" for citizens.world Updated: Oct 29, 2009 13:39 IST
An extensive security blanket was clamped on this eastern Pakistani city today for a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and key roads and public areas were declared "no go areas" for citizens.
Even the media was stopped from entering the airport to cover Clinton's arrival in the city this morning.
"We have directions from the US consulate that media cannot be allowed to cover her arrival. They can only cover the venues Clinton visits," a senior police officer told reporters from TV channels.
"The media persons have been issued passes for interactions with Clinton only at Governor's House," he added.
The busy Mall Road, Jail Road, Airport Road and the popular Data Darbar shrine were closed to traffic and motorists were diverted to alternate routes.
Educational institutions in these areas, like Punjab University, King Edward Medical College and Sacred Hard School, too were closed.
At least 1,000 policemen were deployed to provide security to Clinton. Police checked and sanitised sites Clinton would visit with the help of sniffer dogs and bomb disposal experts.
Officials escorting Clinton's motorcade and guarding 120 points across the city were equipped with bulletproof jackets and sophisticated weapons.
Clinton, who arrived on Wednesday for a three-day visit for talks with Pakistan's top leadership, visited the historical Lahore Fort and Badashahi mosque this morning.
She also went to the Government College University, where she addressed and interacted with students.
After a luncheon at the Governor's House, Clinton would visit Jati Umra in Raiwind to meet former premier Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, at their farmhouse.
Clinton would also meet opposition PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.
Before travelling to Lahore from Islamabad this morning, Clinton visited Bari Imam, the shrine of 17th century religious leader Shah Abdul Latif Kazmi that was built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
Clinton was accompanied to the shrine by Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
Tight security arrangements were put in place for the visit and helicopters were used for surveillance over the area.