It is quite disturbing but a fact that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) remains in news headlines but for all the wrong reasons. The national flag carrier has been embroiled in another controversy.
The UK authorities seized a large amount of heroin from PIA flight PK-785. It was confirmed by the authorities that National Crime Agency has investigating the crew members following the seizure of a large quantity of heroin found by Border Force officers onboard a flight from Pakistan at Heathrow on May 15. The crew members were kept in detention for five hours and later crew was released after interrogation. Both PIA and the NCA confirmed that 30 UKBA agents participated in the operation. The agents were equipped with cameras, and conducted live filming to secure evidence, assisted by sniffing dogs. The operation on the plane continued for three hours, after which the plane was declared clean following the complete removal of heroin.
The incident is a crime of a very serious nature, founding of heroine from inside the structure of the aeroplane reflects that possibly a well-organised racket may be behind the whole episode. This could never be possible without the involvement of the technicians and or maintenance personnel.
Incident also raised questions on the performance of various agencies including Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) which have only one job to do and that is to stop drug trafficking. Why aircraft was cleared by the responsible authorities? Now there are speculations that either it was just one such case or national flag carrier was being used regularly for this purpose. Incident must be investigated transparently in order to find the real culprits behind this embarrassment and a serious crime.
This is not the very first time, in the past members of PIA crew have been found guilty for smuggling contraband and assisting money laundering operations. Very often we hear about the PIA has come under criticism for poor performance, low safety standards the unprofessional attitude of its staff. But sadly there is no improvement. Recent controversy has further deteriorated the image of the ailing national flag carrier. Authorities in Pakistan must be aware that if such infamous incidents would not be stopped then possibly PIA would be stopped from operation in certain countries.
Incident has damaged image of the country, culprits must be dealt with iron hands.