Islamabad: A Pakistan International Airlines flight with Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Federal Minister Maula Bux Chandio and several lawmakers on board aborted take-off at the airport in Karachi today after one of its engines developed a fault.
The flight, which was bound for Islamabad, was on the runway at 4 pm when the engine developed a fault, PIA officials said.
However, TV news channels quoted their sources as saying that an engine had caught fire during take-off.
The Civil Aviation Authority declared an emergency and cancelled the flight.
The Chief Justice summoned senior PIA officials to seek an explanation. The number of passengers on the flight could not immediately be ascertained.
Federal Minister Chandio criticised the state-run PIA for "mismanagement and utter incompetence".
Chandio told Geo News channel: "Smoke coming out of the burning engine entered the fuselage after they opened the emergency exit. It was suffocating in there. I saw many passengers, who were not feeling well, gasping for air."
Chandio said passengers were stranded in the aircraft for two hours.
Production Secretary Gul Mohammad Rind, who was among the passengers, said no PIA officer came to the aid of the passengers.
"They seemed so indifferent to this whole ordeal. They were pathetic," Rind said.
PML-N parliamentarian Shirin Arshad fell ill after smoke filled the cabin, TV news channels reported.
"Several people, including the elderly, fell ill and no one even told us what was going on," she said.
Defence Minister Naveed Qamar, whose ministry controls PIA, convened an emergency meeting of PIA officials tomorrow to review the situation.
PIA?s ageing and under-maintained fleet has been plagued by technical problems for the past few years. Flights are regularly delayed or cancelled due to these problems.