ASF beating
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan suspended security officials involved in beating of passengers at Islamabad International Airport. Image Credit: Social media

Dubai: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has suspended a number of security officials including the airport manager and the PIA station manager for maltreating passengers at the Islamabad International Airport over an incient last week.

His orders came after a video showing Airport Security Officials (ASF) beating passengers went viral on social media.

Imran has also directed the Civil Aviation Authority director general to initiate disciplinary proceedings against them for not handling the situation in a professional manner.

The incident happened on October 23, when a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight from Riyadh to Peshawar was diverted to Islamabad due to bad weather. After landing at the airport, the passengers had to wait for several hours due to bad weather conditions. The report says the passengers got agitated when the airline failed to serve them any food and make alternate arrangments for their travel to their destination.

In the footage, ASF personnel can be seen assaulting passengers. An enraged ASF official was also seen spitting at a passenger before hurling a chair at him.

According to Pakistani media, the quarrel between passengers and the ASF staff started when the latter made an attempt to stop the protesters from leaving the airport lounge as some of the passengers wanted to reach Peshawar by road.

Imran Khan has also directed to suspend PIA station manager and his other team members who were on duty at that time. In addition to their suspension, a disciplinary action against them was also suggested.

The passengers were agitated because the national flag carrier failed to provide them any food or refreshments for over an hour. They vented their frustration by damaging property in the airport’s VIP lounge.

A board of inquiry headed by Brigadier Irfan Zafar, director Airport Security Force was directed to initiate proceeding against the responsible officials of ASF.

On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar had also ordered an inquiry into alleged manhandling passengers by the Airport Security Staff.

Official notification

According to the notification, Airport Manager Tahir Sikandar and Duty Terminal Managers (DTMs) Zaheer and Malik Akram are directed to be placed under suspension and formal disciplinary proceedings under rules shall be initiated against them for not dealing with the situation in a professional manner.

Station Manager PIA Islamabad Pervez Naseer and his team have also been suspended followed by disciplinary action under the rules.

Recent incident

Harrassment of passengers by airport staff, security and customs officials at airports in Pakistan is quite common.

Recently, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) suspended a female constable, Ghazala Shaheen, who was seen in a video that went viral, brutally thrashing two passengers at the Benazir Bhutto Airport in Pakistan’s Islamabad.

The video showed Ghazala beating the two female passengers, a mother and daughter, and dragging them by their hair. The scuffle started over an alleged matter of “missing toilet papers”.