ISLAMABAD: The Airport Security Force (ASF) will court martial its personnel over manhandling of passengers at Islamabad International Airport (IIA), ASF Director General Major General Zafarul Haq told the Senate Standing Committee for Aviation on Tuesday.
The incident took place earlier in October when Jeddah to Peshawar PIA flight PK-728 was forced to land due to bad weather.
The passengers were agitated because they were not provided with food or refreshments for over five hours. They vented out their frustration by protesting and started moving towards the VIP lounge, the ASF personnel on duty tried to stop them during which a brawl occurred.
A mobile phone footage that had gone viral on social media showing the incident that took place on October 23.
In the footage, passengers and ASF staffers could be seen assaulting as well as using pejorative against each other. An enraged ASF official was also seen spitting at a passenger before hurling a chair at him, the same chair the disgruntled passenger had thrown at the official.
Subsequently, ASF formed an inquiry committee and following its report, the force has decided to court martial the ASF official involved directly in maltreatment of passengers including two other ASF personnel, while seven officers including company commander will face summary trial and administrative action.
Maj Gen Haq said that the inquiry committee in its report recommended action against the officers who showed negligence and found guilty of abusing the passengers.
ASF DG told the Senate committee that the force had decided to court martial ASI Usman under the Army Act for maltreating the passengers.
The proceedings will start in next two days, he said, adding that the summary trial will be conducted against the Company Commander Deputy Director Zafar Iqbal for negligence.
According to the copy of inquiry report available with The Express Tribune, ASF ASI Usman violated the law by spitting, punching and throwing a chair at passengers in IIA making him liable to the proceeding of court martial.
According to the report, ASF has decided to conduct summary trial of the officers present on duty when the brawl broke out that night.
These officials include shift in charge ASI Kayani and Shift In-charge of CCTV Cameras Sub Inspector Ali Gul. In the light of the inquiry report, action will also be taken against the officers who were on duty but showed negligence during the incident.
The summary of evidence charge sheet was recorded against the officials under the Pakistan Army Act 1952. According to the report, Company Command Deputy Director Zafar Iqbal has been accused of poor command and control and irresponsibility, making him liable to summary trial. Summary trial will also be conducted against ASF FIU, In charge Assistant Director Jahangir Ahmed who had failed to provide timely information of the incident.
According to the report, ASF Chief Security Officer Lt Col Jahangir Khan, Additional Director Operations Hidayatullah, Assistant Director (Sector Commander) Mohammad Tariq, have been reprimanded, whereas, Assistant Director Operations ASF police Javed Iqbal has been given warning.
The report said that all the officers mentioned above will be deployed to remote stations along with postings and convictions and their employment privileges and promotion will be stopped for three years.