Lahore: Pakistan International Airlines on Friday admitted that the Islamabad-bound PK-370 flight on September 15 was delayed due to the late arrival of former interior minister Rehman Malik and a Hindu lawmaker of the ruling PML-N.
The flag carrier's administration, in its reply to the Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat, said that the plane incurred a 25-minute delay at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi due to the late arrival of two parliamentarians Ramesh Kumar and Senator Rehman Malik, the Express Tribune reported today.
The head of the investigation team Brigadier Usman Chaudhary informed the Standing Committee that the two lawmakers were in coordination with two individuals at the airport, who further delayed the flights.
Earlier, PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar had denied that the flight was delayed because of Malik and said that shift manager Nadeem Abro and terminal manager Shehzad Khan had been suspended due to the delayed take-off of PK-370.
After the initial delay which was due to technical reasons, the plane was delayed for a further 15 to 20 minutes and they have been suspended for this delay, he said.
The PIA flight from Karachi was delayed by two and a half hours on September 15 as it kept waiting for the arrival of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) senator Malik and National Assembly member Dr Ramesh Kumar Wakwani.
However, both parliamentarians have denied their role in delaying the flight.
A video clip, which had gone viral online, showed passengers booing and ridiculing the lawmakers as crew also joined them in preventing the two politicians from boarding the plane.
"Malik sahab, sorry. You should go back. You should apologise to these passengers. You should be ashamed of yourself...250 passengers have suffered because of you. It is your fault, sir," a passenger was heard saying in the clip.
"Malik sahab, you are not a minister any more. And even if you are, we don't care...Anymore," he said.