After two recent assassination attempts, President Pervez Musharraf is guarded by an American military team, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday.
Another report in India Abroad, a New York-based fortnightly journal, by Pakistan-based journalist Amir Mir says that President Musharraf may start using “doubles” for extra protection. He has also been advised to avoid shaking hands and embracing. Other measures to protect the president include plans to add three Mercedes to the cavalcade to confuse potential attackers.
The airspace over the president’s secretariat and the General Headquarters remains closed to commercial air traffic. The president is also said to usually carry a pistol and wear a bullet-proof jacket with metal shock plates, built specifically to stop bullets and other small projectiles.
The presidential security team, according to Mr Mir, has recommended the installation of a highly sophisticated radar imaging system to monitor the presidential route on the Kashmir Highway, which the president often uses. The system is a visual explosive detection arrangement, which helps locate explosives and weapons hidden inside walls, floors, cabinets and other hard-to-access locations such as concrete walls up to 10 inches thick.
What saved the president in the suicide attack on December 25 was a security system called VIP-2 Bomb Ranger, a highly sophisticated and extremely expensive counter-terrorism equipment that analyses and jams radio signals for remote-controlled explosive devices. It is effective against radio-fired mines, invisible caches of ammunition and remote-controlled bombs.
The president’s security team is taking no chances and has taken steps to counter a missile attack on his plane. There are plans to equip his plane with a modern anti-missile system, which carries airborne laser weapons technology that can shoot down missiles before they reach their target. The system operates at relatively high altitudes from where it can track missiles as they start gathering speed. As soon as it locks into an incoming missile, it fires high energy laser beams that can force a premature detonation.