The Speaker of the National Assembly, Asad Qaiser, was in the news on Friday after a plane carrying him and other parliamentarians was denied permission to land at Kabul Airport for security reasons.
As per reports, the delegation of parliamentarians was scheduled for a three-day official visit to Kabul and had flown to the Afghan capital on a Pakistan International Airlines flight.
Flight PK-249 had taken off from Islamabad at 10:20 AM on 8 April and was scheduled to land in Afghanistan within 30 minutes. However, as the plane entered Afghan air space and was at a height of 28,000 feet, it was denied permission to land.
The pilot was informed that the restriction was due to security reasons and was asked how long the airplane could remain in the air. The pilot responded that it could be done for a maximum of an hour, after which he was instructed to hold on.
The flight was cleared for landing after having to wait mid-flight for nearly 42 minutes but was asked not to land at an altitude of 17,000 feet.
After stalling for another ten minutes, the pilot contacted the PIA administration for instructions and was told to return to Islamabad. As the plane entered Pakistan’s airspace, the pilot was informed that Kabul Airport has been opened for landing.
As per Afghan media reports, the concerned authorities had found explosives hidden below a building being constructed near the airport, due to which the airport had been closed temporarily for security clearance.
Aviation sources have described this incident as ‘highly irresponsible and nonprofessional’ of the Kabul Airport authorities.