Pakistani lawmakers refuse body scan, cut short US visit
Islamabad: A delegation of Pakistani lawmakers refused to subject themselves to a controversial full-body X-ray scan at a Washington airport, a media report said on Sunday.
The six-member group of the Parliament members from Pakistan's restive tribal region cut short their official US visit immediately to return home, the Pakistani Express News channel said.
It was the first official delegation that refused to go through the body scanners since they were installed at 19 US airports last month.
Abbas Afridi, the head of Pakistani delegation, said the US State Department had invited them to Washington to discuss security and development projects in the tribal region, with a promise that they would not be subjected to body scanning.
"We were not scanned when we arrived on March 28 in Washington from Pakistan, but on Saturday when we wanted to travel to another city the authorities told us that we would be scanned," Afridi told Express News.
"We refused the scanning and now we are returning home," he said.
The airport X-ray machines show the naked image of a passenger, allowing the staff to see any hidden weapons and explosives. But they have drawn criticism for showing outlines of passengers' genitals.
Some Muslim scholars have issued decrees to prohibit Muslims going through the scanners because they violate religious rules on nudity.
Earlier this month, two Pakistani women refused to pass through the security screen at Manchester airport in Britain and opted to miss their flight for Pakistan, to become the first passengers to refuse the scan.