The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh has turned down a parliamentary body’s request for relaxed security checks for MPs and former ministers at airports of the country.
The parliamentary standing committee on civil aviation and tourism at a meeting on April 7 recommended “relaxed security checks” and separate queues for them.
During a meeting of the parliamentary watchdog on Wednesday, CAAB said Bangladesh is a member of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). “Therefore, it is mandatory for Bangladesh to take security measures at all airports, specially at international airports as per the ICAO rules.”
The meeting was held with ruling Awami League MP RAM Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury in the chair and The Daily Star obtained a copy of the meeting minutes.
CAAB said there was no scope for exempting anyone other than those allowed by the National Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP) from screening at airports.
NCASP only exempts the president, the prime minister, their families and the UN secretary general, it told the committee, adding that the NCASP was formed because of ICAO’s requirements.
However, CAAB said it has sought the Prime Minister’s Office’s consent to including in the NCASP exemption list family members of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the chief justice, the Speaker and any person declared by the cabinet division or the foreign ministry.
It said airport security personnel often feel embarrassed due to a lack of specific government instruction on the screening of “VIPs”.
Talking to The Daily Star, a top official of CAAB yesterday said the committee’s request was denied after getting the directive from government high-ups
The official said Bangladesh could get into trouble with the ICAO if it deviated from ICAO guidelines regarding security.
Mosharraf Hossain, an AL MP and a member of the committee who was present at the meeting, said the committee requested CAAB so that MPs and other VIPs did not need to take off their shoes, belts, and coats during security checks.
He claimed that other countries have such relaxed security checks for MPs and VIPs.
The civil aviation ministry recently notified all airports to ensure foolproof security following the February 24 alleged hijack attempt on flight BG 147 in Chattogram.
Later, at least four passengers went up to the boarding gates at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport with their legal firearms and bullets.