Who will stop this?


ONCE considered a pride and honour for the country, the national flag carrier PIA over the last decade or so not only has lost trust of its customers due to poor service but recent incidents of drug recovery from its aircraft and staff members has further damaged its repute while bringing bad name to the country.
In the latest regrettable incident, a PIA steward was detained in Paris by French airport authorities for allegedly being in possession of four kilograms of heroin. The person was reportedly carrying four packets of heroin weighing one kilogram each, worth million of dollars. According to the PIA spokesperson, the suspect had been suspended from service immediately until further investigation and if allegations are proven correct, he will be terminated. The moot question is how the steward managed to take such huge quantity of drugs inside the plane in the presence of ANF and other security staff deployed at the Islamabad airport. It really implies that the security personnel are also hand in glove with the PIA staff to smuggle the drugs. Just last year, we saw the British authorities seizing heroin on board a PIA flight at the Heathrow airport. According to investigation carried out by customs authorities at that time, the heroin was inserted in different compartments of the plane when it was parked at Karachi Airport. Following the seizure of drugs at Heathrow, the then Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had stated that foreign drug mafia was behind the crime. Indeed the drugs smuggling has emerged as an organised transnational crime and definitely Pakistan is being used as a transit country for its trade to other countries. Participation of PIA staff in such despicable activities is not only an issue of national flag carrier but deeply involves the international image of Pakistan. We will strongly urge the adviser on civil aviation to take serious notice of the situation and order investigation into the recent incident in order to unmask those faces that helped the steward take the drugs to the aircraft. Strict action is inevitable to avoid further embarrassment in future. Security screening should be further tightened not only for the passengers but also for the staff boarding the planes.