Landing assault: PIA flight comes under fire over Peshawar airport

Published: June 25, 2014
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Flight PK-756 with 178 
passengers and crew members on board was travelling from Saudi Arabia. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Flight PK-756 with 178 passengers and crew members on board was travelling from Saudi Arabia. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: 

Gunmen fired on a passenger plane as it was landing at the Bacha Khan International Airport Tuesday night, killing a woman and injuring two others, including a crew member, officials said.

Pakistan International Airlines flight PK-756 with 178 passengers and crew members on board was travelling from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, an official of the national flag carrier told The Express Tribune.

“Unknown gunmen fired a volley of bullets at the airplane when it was preparing to land at the airport,” SP Cantt Faisal Kamran said. “The gunmen fired at the airplane from outside the airport vicinity,” he said, quashing speculation that the airport might have been attacked.

The PIA official who spoke to The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity added that the plane was attacked while flying at low altitude near Landi Akhum Ahmad area. He added that the plane was damaged in the attack.

“A flight steward and two passengers were injured who were driven to the nearby Combined Military Hospital (CMH) where the woman, Mrs Maknon, succumbed to her injuries,” he said. The injured were identified as Ijaz (flight steward) and Majid (passenger).

SP Kamran also confirmed the casualties. He said that they have launched a manhunt in the area for the attackers.

The Civil Aviation Authority briefly suspended flight operation at the airport while Pakistan Army troops threw a security cordon around the area.

The attack came days after Pakistan Army launched a massive operation against homegrown and foreign militants holed up in North Waziristan Agency. The operation, codenamed Zarb-e-Azb, was initiated five days after 10 heavily-armed terrorists mounted a brazen attack on Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport.

Over a dozen people – mostly Airport Security Force personnel – were killed in the ensuing hours-long gunfight. All 10 terrorists were also killed.

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) had claimed responsibility for the attack which it said was a revenge for a deadly air raid in North Waziristan.

This was not the first attack at the Peshawar airport which is located in the cantonment area. On December 16, 2012, a group of militants – armed with automatic weapons and suicide vest – rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the peripheral wall of the airport before making an unsuccessful attempt to storm the airport.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (33)

  • Kashif Alam
    Jun 25, 2014 - 3:01AM

    Shabash to all my country men and women. We have turned Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan to a basket case country with no regard for human life, in our quest for so-called ‘strategic depth’ and our support for the taliban mindset.

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  • Iftikhar
    Jun 25, 2014 - 3:15AM

    This story mixes up details of Karachi & Peshawar airport attacks. Should be writer with more clearity

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  • Humza
    Jun 25, 2014 - 3:15AM

    Shows how cowardly the foreign militants can be to shoot at passenger planes and kill a woman because they are so brave. It seems that the Pakistan military is giving the cowards a good thrashing for attacking civilians. All of these Uzbek, Arabs, Chechens illegally living and other criminals should be deported to their own countries.

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  • Mubarik Ali
    Jun 25, 2014 - 3:50AM

    @Humza:

    “All of these Uzbek, Arabs, Chechens illegally living and other criminals should be deported to their own countries.” I think all these so called Mujahedeen should be dispatched to Paradise to meet hoors awaiting for them, so that rest of us mortals can have sigh of relief.

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  • Hitler
    Jun 25, 2014 - 4:06AM

    Inshallah Pak Army will clear such cowards once and for all. May Allah help us!

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  • Azim Khan
    Jun 25, 2014 - 5:03AM

    @Kashif Alam:

    You forgot to add thanks to Sharif brotharan who have harbored and protected taliban

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  • Gp65
    Jun 25, 2014 - 5:04AM

    @Humza:
    So you think it is only Uzbeks, Chechens etc. who are doing this? What is. The nationality of Mulla Fazlullah -leader of TTP?
    Who followed the strategy of strateic depth and iving shelters to terrorists hat attack your neighbours?

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  • Amer
    Jun 25, 2014 - 5:17AM

    Make more residential areas and slums near the airports… shows you how long term security planning is the need of the hour for our airports. I just hope foreign airlines don’t stop coming.

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  • Jibran
    Jun 25, 2014 - 5:23AM

    Dangerous precedence. Foreign airlines may stop flying into Pakistan if the situation continues to deteriorate at the current rate.

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  • Shahid
    Jun 25, 2014 - 6:25AM

    The retards from Uzbekistan couldn’t control the western/Russian influence in their own country so thought to take over another country. The rascals should be hanged upside down on every cross roads across the country so they know what the rate of the foreign currency is these days.

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  • Trieste
    Jun 25, 2014 - 7:45AM

    Hamid Gul and his cohorts should be tried for treason and sentenced to life in jail. Even today he talks about how the Taliban are honorable people and the citizens need to support them. He is a stinking rich man who lives in his own palace and plays golf when he is bored. He couldn’t care less for the suffering of the poor.

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  • Xman
    Jun 25, 2014 - 8:00AM

    Our history books need to be changed. We have taught lies to our generations, and are now reaping the fruits of those mistakes. A nation that glorifies Mahmood Gaznawai, Sabuktagin, Babar, and other Central Asian assailants as heroes will never be at peace with the barbarian mind set. We need to speak the truth and teach our children the reality of this region if we are to end the perpetual reign of violence.

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  • Time to come
    Jun 25, 2014 - 8:20AM

    If these things continue even the Gulf airlines may stop flying to Pakistan. Already UAE wasn’t pleased with the Qadri drama on the Emirates flight and characterized it as hijacking.

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  • Junaid
    Jun 25, 2014 - 8:22AM

    I’m not an advocate for emergency declaration.
    But this is most appropriate time to declare emergency. We need a military response to this problem that’s it. We need to cleanse out the militants and make our cities peaceful again. We finally need to disarm and regulate weapons Street by Street, district by district and city by city and finally state by state. This is not going to work any other way.

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  • Rahim kasser
    Jun 25, 2014 - 8:38AM

    I think it is the time for action now

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  • Usman Aziz
    Jun 25, 2014 - 8:54AM

    It is result of the saying “Arsenals are ornaments of men” even surroundings of the airport can not be made arms free by KPK Police, need to take huge steps without any compromise……

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  • Ozair
    Jun 25, 2014 - 9:04AM

    Govt should show some bravery and tell the world which country is behind these recent attacks on passenger planes.

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  • Shah
    Jun 25, 2014 - 9:30AM

    @Humza: Are you sure they were foreign militants, denial still?

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  • Shah
    Jun 25, 2014 - 9:31AM

    @Hitler: I only say LOL

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  • Osman
    Jun 25, 2014 - 10:48AM

    Imran Khan, please go ahead and start blaming federal govt for not providing security on your air ports.

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  • SBK-2506
    Jun 25, 2014 - 11:06AM

    There seems to be no difference in conditions in Iraq, Afghanistan & Pakistan. The Governments in all these three countries seem to be just ceremonial with no definition of their roles, no powers to enforce the laws of their respective lands and so no responsibility!Recommend

  • TimAitch
    Jun 25, 2014 - 11:07AM

    Why a Saudi plane? The Saudis are supporting the Sunnis in Syria and Iraq. Is there some Shia sect that pulled this off?

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  • Ali
    Jun 25, 2014 - 11:09AM

    For sure there will be after-effects of the operation..I would request the security forces to be more vigilant in this hour of need.May Allah return us the peace of our country.

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  • Jun 25, 2014 - 11:29AM

    The enemy is just trying to bleed us to death while we are engaged somewhere else. Enough said!!!!!

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  • Pakistani First
    Jun 25, 2014 - 11:40AM

    Pakistan government needs to first stop all airlines from taking to the skies in Pakistan first. Ensure safety of all flights and passengers first. Only then airlines should be allowed to fly.
    Human lives are more important than businesses in Islam.

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 25, 2014 - 11:42AM

    @Osman:
    Please read the story first & then give comments..

    Recommend

  • overseas Pakistani
    Jun 25, 2014 - 11:48AM

    I used to visit Pakistan once in 2 yrs but I was in 2 minds this yr because of the polio virus but now I’ve decided not to come to Pakistan after this attack. My friends were right Pakistan is not a country to visit till there is complete change of mindset.

    Recommend

  • Abdul
    Jun 25, 2014 - 12:23PM

    @Humza: You can do the same for Dawood Ibrahim, or is he a pillar of society in Pakistan ?

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  • nrmr44
    Jun 25, 2014 - 1:08PM

    This is no way to treat foreign warriors and coreligionists who were so lovingly offered residence in Pakistan, and then trained and equipped as brothers-in-arms. A fratricidal war will only create more confusion and give rise to more players in an expanding tournament.
    I strongly suggest that the authorities in Rawalpindi/Islamabad should negotiate a border agreement with the powers in North Waziristan, recognize the new Islamic state as a friendly neighbor, and seal the deal with a 99-yr No-War Treaty. Then, the Pak Army can go home, the IDP can return home, and the militants would already be home.
    Now, tell me why it won’t work. Tell me why it isn’t better than Uzbeks who have progressed to Stinger missiles

    Recommend

  • Bano
    Jun 25, 2014 - 4:14PM

    Pretty soon Pakistanies can say Emirates, Qatar and other few airlines that come to Pakistan a wavey goooood byeeeeeeeeeee.Recommend

  • Kepler-8B
    Jun 26, 2014 - 9:29AM

    @Humza:
    Who invited these “brother” in the first place?

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  • Jun 26, 2014 - 2:23PM

    soon either the airlines presently flying to Peshawar will suspend their flights and / or the fares will be hiked as the insurance cost for the carrier is bound to increase. Airlines may continue flights to Lahore which is seen more or less immune to terrorist activities.

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  • sharabi
    Jun 26, 2014 - 2:25PM

    “Saw The Wind Reap The Whirlwind”Recommend

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