Security agencies probing Pak pilot arrival, stay in city



Thiruvananthapuram: Security agencies are investigating how a Pakistani pilot of a Gulf-based foreign airline was allowed to land here in violation of rules and even stayed overnight in a City hotel apparently without the knowledge of authorities.

The incident which has triggered a controversy and seen as a security breach happened two months back.

An assistant commissioner with the city police has been entrusted with the inquiry in the case focussing on how the pilot ventured out and managed to stay in the city without the knowledge of intelligence and security agencies, police sources said on Sunday.

Khalid Rasheed, the pilot-in-command of Ethihad, flew a scheduled flight to the city on May 6 and stayed for a whole day in a five-star hotel in the city allegedly without informing the police or immigration authorities of his stay in the city, the sources said.

The next day he operated the return flight. Sources said the case involved violation of a recent stringent circular restricting arrival of Pakistani pilots flying aircraft to airports in the four metropolitan cities in the country.

Pakistani crew members and pilots in other airports across the country have to stay inside the retiring rooms in the airports under strict security cover in the event of their flights operating there.

According to Foreigners Registration Act, it was the responsibility of the police and its intelligence wing to keep a tab on foreign nationals staying in the city, especially those from Pakitstan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Also, the foreign airlines are expected to keep the authorities informed of the details of the foreign pilot flying to the country, the sources said.

"We would be conducting a comprehensive probe into all aspects of the case including if there was intelligence failure", a senior police official said.

However, the hotel authorities have said the pilot had given all details required when he filled up the required form and that they had passed this to the officials concerned.

PTI