The nation can breathe a sigh of relief. Luckily, the plot to hijack the Dubai-bound Biman flight on Sunday night was foiled and the armed man, who boarded the plane in Dhaka, was quickly neutralised without loss of life in a commando operation after the plane made an emergency landing in Chattogram. We deeply appreciate the swift response of all the law enforcement agencies who reached the spot quickly—leading to the hijacker being overcome and safe evacuation of all passengers.
That the hijacker successfully boarded the plane with a weapon points to a serious security breach at Dhaka airport. How he managed to get on the plane despite there being at least two layers of security checks is anybody's guess. We are already getting conflicting reports about the weapon the man carried; the Chittagong Metropolitan Police said that it was a “fake pistol” whereas passengers' accounts point to the weapon being a real pistol since a crew member was seen to be bleeding by passengers. This was an extremely serious incident that could have been catastrophic, and we hope that whatever statements are issued by the authorities have a basis grounded on evidence and facts rather than conjecture and speculation. Fake or not, the pistol should have been detected during carrying out the security protocol. And if the gun indeed was fake, what explains the crew member's injury on his arm and the gunshots heard by passengers?
This is something that the authorities, including the five-member committee formed by the civil aviation ministry, must seriously investigate. The security lapse which put so many lives in danger must not be taken lightly and the gaps in the security protocol that led to this incident must be addressed. We do not want a repeat of the time when Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport was declared a “red zone” by the EU due to lax security measures.