Quetta-bound pilgrims stage protest after prolonged layover at Karachi airport

Published: September 7, 2018
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The Quetta-bound pilgrims held a seven-hour long sit-in at the airport against the negligence of airport officials. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

The Quetta-bound pilgrims held a seven-hour long sit-in at the airport against the negligence of airport officials. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD / QUETTA: National Assembly Deputy Speaker Muhammad Qasim Khan Suri on Thursday ordered a probe into inconvenience caused to Quetta-bound pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia at Karachi airport.

Suri gave directives to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony to bring to book those responsible for the episode.

The action was taken following a protest staged by Quetta-bound passengers outside the Jinnah International Airport after they were given a connecting flight back home after a long delay.

In a meeting with Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri, Suri expressed his concern and anger over airport authorities’ failure to provide the Hajj pilgrims their connecting flight in time.

Moreover, he lamented the off-loading of pilgrims at Karachi instead of Quetta airport.

Shaheen Air to resume post-Hajj operations

“All those responsible for treating pilgrims in this way need to be strictly dealt with,” he urged the federal minister.

Suri said the majority of the Quetta-bound pilgrims are being sent to their native cities via bus, which is causing them further inconvenience.

Qadri, on the other hand, laid the blame on the previous Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) government for the negligence of the authorities.

Passengers’ sit-in

The Quetta-bound pilgrims held a seven-hour long sit-in at the airport against the negligence of airport officials. No food or refreshments were offered to the passengers during the layover.

The decision to send them back in passenger coaches inflamed the situation even further with the pilgrims chanting slogan against the mismanagement.

According to reports, Pakistan International Airlines, the national flag carrier, was responsible for providing the services from Jeddah-Karachi while the pilgrims had booked tickets from a private airline from Karachi to Quetta.

The protesters demanded to be taken back to Quetta by air and refused to travel via bus.

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