FIA dismisses female official involved in thrashing passengers at Islamabad Airport

Published: May 1, 2017
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PHOTO: SCREEN GRAB

PHOTO: SCREEN GRAB

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), on Monday, dismissed one of it’s officials in connection with the mishandling of two Norwegian nationals at Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) in Islamabad more than two weeks ago.

On April 22, an inquiry committee found three FIA officials guilty for assault and battery. Director Administration of the agency, Ahmad Mukkaram, heading the committee, also recommended stern disciplinary action against all officials involved.

Sources confirmed that a departmental inquiry has led to the dismissal of an immigration official, Ghazala Shaheen, from service, while “required action against two other officials involved has also been taken.”

The affected female passengers were allowed to fly back to Oslo three days ago, they added.

The video, shot from a cell phone, showed two female FIA constables grabbing Haseena Bibi and her daughter, Fauzia, then dragging them as they cried for help. The video showed how other FIA officials stood by watching the incident unfold without intervening.

Probe panel finds three FIA officials guilty

On April 21, the FIA removed the passengers from Qatar Airways flight at Bacha Khan International Airport Peshawar after it emerged they had been nominated in an FIR lodged in Islamabad.

The incident began on April 15 when Fouzia asked for some toilet paper from female staff the airport. 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 paper, an apparently menial job allocated specifically for cleaners only.

Responding to the somewhat rude reply from the immigration official, Fouzia asked her not to misbehave with travellers. The two continued to then exchange harsh words. Noshila allegedly threatened that she would not let the family travel to Norway, leading to the altercation.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Ehs
    May 1, 2017 - 4:29PM

    Severe action should be taken against FIA officials responsible for misbehaving. It will set a good example and ensure passengers are not mistreated in future by FIA staff. Recommend

  • Humza
    May 1, 2017 - 5:32PM

    @Ehs: It would also have been good had the misbehaving passengers from Europe also be given fines or some type of warning to prevent their misbehavior with airport staff.Try behaving this way with airport staff in the US or any Western country and you would be in jail. The fact that refugee women coming from Norway were able to leave without any concerns is a bad message to other travelers that Pakistani citizens can be abused.Recommend

  • Mohummad Omar Masood
    May 1, 2017 - 5:40PM

    Thank God-Right decision good news for sacking the F.I.A lady official misbehaved with ladies passengers on Islamabad Abad Airport Recommend

  • Common Man
    May 1, 2017 - 6:21PM

    I am not sure what happened there. But everyone saw the these two Norwegian nationals behavior. FIA staff were tolerating them, handling them with patience and they were completely outrageous, inhuman, ignorant because they knew they have political influence.

    If passengers had the issues, did they follow the process to tell their concerns ? I am afraid not in Norway they behave civilized but in Pakistan you put off your civilized mask and start treating people like insects.

    and second thing is its common practice in Pakistan to punish people at lower grades, what about the management ? its their failure too. And I believe these FIA constables would not have thrashed theses passengers without any order.Recommend

  • Syed1
    May 1, 2017 - 7:06PM

    @Common Man:
    You say in your first sentence “I am not sure what happened”, but then you made an entire case against the “Norwegian nationals” showing that you perhaps need to educate yourself before commenting on matters. Let me start by telling you that those two women were not Norwegian, but Pakistani. However, they were travelling to Norway because the younger woman (who was the daughter) studies there. The incident happened when the daughter went to the washroom at Islamabad airport and upon not finding tissue papers she politely inquired with the FIA offical who was also present there whether they have any tissues. Upon hearing the request the FIA official lost her mind and started thrashing her saying that she is not a lowly washroom cleaner. The official then took the daughter to an enclosure and with the help of two of her friends started beating up the daughter some more. When the mother made a hue and cry about it she was also beaten up. Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    May 1, 2017 - 7:42PM

    @Syed1: Well if that girl schooled in Norway had any tact she wouldn’t have queried an immigration official about toilet paper ! That said, I would still tend to think the preponderance of the blame falls on the FIA officials.Recommend

  • kashmire
    May 1, 2017 - 8:27PM

    @Common Man:
    They complained about not having toilet paper in the washroom. Is that a crime and do deserve to be beaten up?Recommend

  • kashmire
    May 1, 2017 - 8:30PM

    @Rollin & Trollin:
    who do you think they should have asked? They could have directed them to the right place.Recommend

  • Jamil Chaudri
    May 1, 2017 - 8:31PM

    When travelling abroad, one has difficulty in determining WHO to ask for help. Anybody in some sort of uniform could be approached for help. I myself have done that a number of times. It was the DUTY (Islamic DUTY) of this uncouth FIA employee to treat a FEMALE, FOREIGN GUEST, in an honourable manner,

    Employing organisations, in the Islamic Republic, should have a rule that requires their employees to clean the toilets, once a month. That is the only WAY TO BRING ISLAMIC EGALITY to these steeped in ignorance people. Recommend

  • RAIS AKBAR
    May 1, 2017 - 10:33PM

    There is a need to review presence/postings of FIA Officials at airports. What’s their mandate and is it really required?Recommend

  • DR IQBAL HUSSAIN
    May 1, 2017 - 10:38PM

    very sad incident.I fail to under stand who has given clean chit to FIA official to thrash air passenger.One thing is very clear that without due support that low grad official could not do so.I heard through news that the head of FIA at islamabad airport was involved in NAB case. I also fail to under stand where was the officers of regulatory body ie CAA. I know the manager along with his staff discharge their duties at the air port where they can see each and every thing through CCTV. The CHIEF OF THE AVIATION must look into this issue from same angle.CAA as for as my own experience is concerned is being handled by in experience and non management trade officers.Engineers are given charge of management and administration trade people are working KHUDDA LINE areas. some blue eyed officers are being benefitted .Head of the organisation must him self look into this aspect and while utilizing his wast experience must re shuffle all the managerial posts for smooth running of air affairs.Recommend

  • Common Man
    May 1, 2017 - 11:47PM

    @Syed1

    brother, you actually didn’t get my point or maybe I have failed to communicate.
    Every person who commit something wrong would definitely say that he/she is innocent. I was saying I don’t know what happened at backstage. It is a story which Norwegian women is saying. It could be true whatever Norwegian women is saying but the way she behaved can never be explained or defended. All the staff were trying to calm them down and she was not listening to anyone.

    Anyways, my point was rather than sacking the lower staff, the management should have been punished as well because its all happening under their nose. Laws are created for all but are being practiced only on poor. Recommend

  • Ehs
    May 2, 2017 - 9:51AM

    @Humza
    First of all what gives you the right to call them refugees ??. If anyone has opted for a foreign citizenship it’s their life and their own choice. I’m sure more than 90% of Pakistanis would opt for a foreign citizenship given the option due to various reasons. We need to learn to stop being extremely critical of other Pakistanis and this is one thing I have learnt.

    These overseas Pakistanis that you are criticizing happen to send in a of lot of remittance which immensely benefits our economy. I don’t see the point of criticism over everything. There is no justification to for FIA staff to beat up passengers.. please think like a human and stop criticizing all the time.Recommend

  • Baba Luga
    May 2, 2017 - 10:12AM

    @kashmire:
    Really, there are numerous kinds of staff present at the airport, from immigration, customs and security staff to information counter personnel, caterers, janitors and others. So it requires a modicum of common sense to figure out who would be the appropriate type of people to make that type of query.Recommend

  • Humza
    May 2, 2017 - 8:10PM

    @Ehs No one is denying that overseas Pakistanis contribute greatly to the national economy but that doesn’t give anyone the right to abuse airport staff. Do you think that tax paying citizens who contribute to the nation in the US or Europe are exempt from abusive behavior at airports? Try grabbing the arms and yelling at an airport worker in the US and see what happens. You would be arrested. The fact is that Norway’s population of Pakistanis just like those in Germany are primarily refugees who had to smuggle themselves in there and make a claim for asylum based on some story of persecution in their home country. This is true for Somali, Afghan, Iranian, Arab and all the other refugees you see in European countries. This is fact. Yes there is a difference between legal immigrants who travel with visas In US to settle and those who smuggle themselves into other countries in Europe to claim asylum to seek a better life by paying human smugglers. What you need to see is that someone fleeing persecution to live in Norway should not be abusing airport staff working in Islamabad who are serving travelers.Whether someone went abroad legally to settle in Australia or smuggled illegally into Germany to ask for asylum is not the issue. Coming from abroad and abusing local people is what we are talking about and yes those people who ran away saying they suffered persecution in Pakistan as refugees who were then accepted in Norway have no right to abuse workers when they come back to the place they fled due to alleged persecution. They should be more sensitive to persecution and abuse since this is how their claim to live in Norway came about. This is my point. No one has the right to abuse anyone.Recommend

  • Ali
    May 2, 2017 - 10:55PM

    @Humza
    Please stop, you’re embarrassing yourself even more. Physical assault is never acceptable, especially from the airport staff. Have you even traveled through the Islamabad airport? Everyone is disturbingly rude, from the janitor to the immigration officer. And you dont have the right to judge an asylum seeker’s life, you don’t know what they’ve been through to get it. Please grow up, and I mean no offence.Recommend

  • MJ-Sid
    May 3, 2017 - 3:30AM

    The two “ladies” if that is a fair word to describe them started the whole assault. They were seen in a CCTV footage, pushing and shoving a security employee, becoming violent, entering space behind official counters, breaking a mobile phone belonging to a security personnel and abusing officials while they were being more tolerant to their behavior than these women deserved. They truly deserved the thrashing that they got by the female officer as seen in the more popular video. Try doing that at NY or LA airport and they would be in handcuffs with their faces rubbed into the ground and arrested for days. These refugees … and yes that’s what these women are … political asylum seekers from Afghanistan who used Pakistan as a stepping stone needed to be taught some manners. I am sad for the security official who got suspended. It was these two women who should have missed their flight and spend some jail time. Recommend

  • Asim
    May 3, 2017 - 10:47AM

    @hamza
    whatsoever the case may be law enforcement agencies are trained to control themselves and maintain discipline and order. There is no justification for physical violence against anyone. After video leaks FIA itself has been forced to admit their staff misbehaved with passengers while you are trying to claim they are innocent.

    Secondly, like other users are pointing out please don’t generalize and label all overseas Pakistanis in such a derogatory manner. I myself have experienced inappropriate behavior from airport staff at Islamabad Airport and one of my best friends was harassed and later a bribe was demanded from him.

    We don’t have any problem no matter if airport staff respectfully investigates matters but one thing that is completely unacceptable is when these FIA/Customs/ANF people frustrate people with the intention of obtaining money unlawfully from them. Recommend

  • Mohammad Syed Husain
    May 3, 2017 - 6:33PM

    An altercation of word occurred at the counter when the immigration official resented being asked for toilet paper. Fauzia (passenger) was threatened that she would not be allowed to fly. While this passenger was standing in queue, the same immigration official approached her and took her boarding pass forcibly. This led to a scuffle in which she was slapped and in return did the same. (It is difficult to understand if Fauzia made an attempt to slap the official first as alleged; eye witnesses report of mutual slapping session. Fauzia’s slapping the official appears to be untrue as it is completely out of the normal interaction with authority despite any provocation). The mother intervened and then both were dragged off. The video showed how other FIA officials stood by watching the incident unfold without intervening.Recommend

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