ISLAMABAD: Instead of taking off from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) a passenger landed at the Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) in Rawalpindi.
A Norwegian national was allegedly tortured by female immigration staff of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) over a petty issue at the BBIA on Saturday morning.
“We reached the airport along with my daughter Fouzia and Fatima Umer. Our flight was scheduled to take off at about 12:45 pm,” said their mother Haseena Begum while narrating the incident to The Express Tribune at BBH.
She added that Fouzia had gone to the restroom after obtaining her boarding cards and handing over luggage. As she came out of the restroom, Haseena said, Fouzia asked for some toilet papers from a female airport staff.
The staffer, later identified as FIA official Noshila, was irked by the request and said that she was from the immigration department and she had nothing to do with providing toilet papers, apparently a menial job of cleaners, Haseena said.
Responding to the somewhat rude reply of the immigration official, Fouzia asked her not to misbehave with travellers. The two continued to then exchange harsh words.
Haseena said that Noshila allegedly threatened that she would not let them travel to Norway.
“As we stood in the queue for our immigration clearance, the FIA woman came and snatched our passports and boarding cards. She tore the boarding cards,” Haseena claimed.
She added that as her daughter put up some resistance, Noshila with help of two other female officials dragged her daughter to a room where they allegedly tortured her. Eyewitnesses claimed that the passengers and FIA officials also allegedly slapped each other.
The commotion at the airport compelled the FIA staff and the Airport Security Force to intervene and rescue Fouzia and hand the women over to Airport police.
Fouzia, who had received minor injuries to her head and neck during a scuffle with FIA officials, was given first aid by the Civil Aviation Authority before being taken to the BBH by airport police for treatment.
As news of the incident spread to television channels, the FIA immigration department released a statement claiming that the three female passengers had misbehaved with one of their staff.
Despite that, FIA Rawalpindi Zone Director launched an inquiry into the incident. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar taking notice of the incident has sought a report about the incident.
Later at BBH Khalid Umer, Fouzia’s father, told the media that he would appeal to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar to look into the incident.
Being a Norwegian national, Umer said, he would also take up the issue with Norwegian authorities. Regarding his country of origin, Umer said after the incident, he was so broken that he would never return to Pakistan.