Lahore: Four officials of Pakistan's national carrier have been arrested and as many suspended from service for allegedly facilitating a passenger to take a PIA flight to Canada without a visa.
The Federal Investigation Agency arrested the four officials of Pakistan International Airlines on charges of facilitating the passenger, Muhammad Akram, to board a flight to Toronto without a visa from Lahore airport last month.
Akram, who is reportedly a close relative of a ruling PML-N member, had a visa for Dubai but he was issued two boarding cards -- one for Dubai and the other for Toronto -- by the accused, FIA spokesman Khawaja Hammad told PTI.
"The four PIA officials present at the Lahore airport facilitated him to take a Toronto-bound flight of the national flag carrier. Akram sought asylum after reaching Canada," the FIA spokesman said.
The FIA is interrogating the suspects to ascertain whether they are part of an organised network of human smuggling.
The PIA on the other hand also launched an inquiry and dismissed the four employees -- Hammad Butt and Zulfiqar Dar, senior passenger services officers, Asif Arzani Khan, a reservation offcier and a ticketing officer Sumaira ?-- from the service.
Three of suspects are in the FIA custody while Sumaira has got the bail.
The PIA has also suspended another four senior officials for negligence of duty.
"We have suspended four senior officials -- district manager Lahore?Salimullah Shahni, Toronto station manager Ejaz Shah, General Manager Passenger Services Aamir Bashir and Ramp Services manager Daud Durani - ?from service in connection with the Toronto human smuggling case," PIA spokesman Aamir Memon said.
He said the PIA had already dismissed its four employees of the passengers services department for their direct involvement in human smuggling case.
Memon said the PIA had "zero tolerance" against human smuggling and would not spare any of its officials involved in the crime.