PM Abbasi reportedly undergoes security check at US airport

Published: March 28, 2018


KARACHI / ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had to reportedly undergo a security check at a United States (US) airport, regarded as an ‘indignity’ to holders of top offices, during a recent visit to the country.

In a video doing rounds on social media, the premier is seen wearing a red polo shirt while undergoing security. He can then be seen carrying his personal belongings and coat after clearing the security check.

Abbasi was reportedly on a private visit to the US to meet his ailing sister and also to meet Vice President Mike Pence on the visit as well.

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Official sources privy to the matter told The Express Tribune that the PM was travelling on his personal passport during the visit. Sources added that the PM is a simple man and doesn’t mind undergoing security checks as a citizen of Pakistan.

However, they also said that the video is under scrutiny and that the authenticity of the video can’t be confirmed.

“He was on a private trip so he went through the security check like all passengers. In the US this involves taking off any clothing with metal, your jacket and your shoes when passing through the scanner. He was not strip searched, that’s complete nonsense,” a family member of the premier told The Express Tribune, refuting reports by Indian media outlets.

“He was on a commercial flight, so he was travelling as a normal passenger and went through normal security procedures. When he went in September to the UN, it was an official trip and he was received by US security officials and escorted as per VIP protocol directly from the plane,” the family member added.

Reports of the prime minister undergoing a security check come amid speculations and rumours of the Trump administration imposing bans or sanctions on certain individuals within the government. Washington also announced sanctions on seven Pakistani companies over suspicions of a link to nuclear trade.

Yesterday, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said that the strained bilateral relationship between Pakistan and the US stems from Washington’s focus on a military partnership with Islamabad rather than engaging the country as a democracy, according to Voice of America News.

In an interview with the news agency, the minister argued that the approach pushed Pakistan to turn towards China and initiate rapprochement with Russia, as the US moves away from providing military assistance to a major non-NATO ally.

The US-Pakistan relationship has suffered as successive White House administrations have blamed the country for not doing enough to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries along the PAk-Afghan border.

The Trump administration has also been looking into a range of new options to incrementally pressure Pakistan into acting against militants, Foreign Policy reported.

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According to the American publication, White House functionaries are weighing unprecedented penalties including revoking the country’s major non-NATO ally status, permanently cutting off military aid and imposing a visa bars on Pakistani government officials.

However, the magazine claimed the suggestions stimulated internal debate in Washington circles on the “tempo and scale” of the under-consideration measures. The publication noted some officials and military men favoured pursuing an aggressive policy while others counselled caution.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • nikki
    Mar 28, 2018 - 5:37PM

    Its normalRecommend

  • just_someone
    Mar 28, 2018 - 8:01PM

    Im proud that we finally have a PM who doesnt think the world revolves around him, he knows he bleeds red like us all. maybe he will understand the common man’s problems better and do something about it.Recommend

  • powayman
    Mar 28, 2018 - 9:32PM

    Apparently he wanted to keep his visit to the USA a secret – as such he didn’t enter as Prime Minister but just as a regular civilian. As such it’s not surprising he was treated as a regular traveler.Recommend

  • MJ-Sid
    Mar 28, 2018 - 10:05PM

    I live in the US. This is completely normal. I have seen Senators and Congressmen going through the exact same procedure. Abbasi was traveling on that flight without protocol so this is no big deal. Recommend

    Mar 28, 2018 - 11:27PM

    Why can’t as a nation we accept a ‘routine’ behavior shown by a VVIP Pakistani citizen traveling in personal capacity?Recommend

  • GR Changazi
    Mar 29, 2018 - 2:40AM

    That is a normal process on International airports every where except Pakistan where high ranking officials are exempted from security checks. I’m working in an International Airport, we make sure everyone regardless of their positions, must follow the rule and go through all security checks – no exemption. Recommend

  • anonymous
    Mar 29, 2018 - 12:01PM

    @EHMED why can’t they travel like that in their own country then we will all accept that it
    is a ‘routine’ behavior shown by a VVIP Pakistani citizen who is travelling in personal capacity but unless that happens, this will be raised as an issue and concern.
    I hope you get my point.Recommend

  • movie2k
    Apr 15, 2018 - 4:28PM

    Apparently he wanted to keep his visit to the USA a secret – as such he didn’t enter as Prime Minister but just as a regular civilian. As such it’s not surprising he was treated as a regular traveler.Recommend

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