In yet another display of hostility towards Pakistan, the Afghan authorities held up a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft for over two and half hours at Kabul airport before allowing it to take off for Islamabad on Monday.
All 162 passengers, onboard the PIA flight PK 250, were not even allowed to leave the plane while it waited for the green signal, sources said.
A statement issued by the national flag carrier, however, read that the flight was held up due to ‘runway maintenance’. “Due to obstruction at the start of the runway, full length of the takeoff was not available,” it read.
Due to the shortened runway, the Afghan authorities asked the pilot to offload 15 passengers in weight shedding. The pilot, however, refused the idea as all passengers had already been taken in.
Interestingly, planes of all other airlines continued to take off using the same runway in the meantime.
After discussions through diplomatic channels that lasted for over two hours, the air traffic control (ATC) finally allowed takeoff from the other edge of the runway.
After taking off at 2:35pm, the flight safely landed at 3:30pm at the Islamabad airport.