The miseries of residents of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata coming from overseas have further multiplied with the disruption of routine operations of international airlines at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto International Airport due to rallies and demonstrations in Islamabad.
Officials of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and other airlines confirmed that several flights coming to Islamabad from the Gulf region have been diverted to Allama Iqbal International Airport during the last three days. Officials and workers at Peshawar airport also confirmed the cancellation of flights from various foreign countries to Islamabad.
Since June 24, when unidentified militants opened fire at a PIA plane landing in Peshawar, a number of international airlines had either suspended or minimised operations at Bacha Khan International Airport. Due to this, people from K-P and Fata who work in the Gulf region were being directed to Islamabad for their flights.
Passengers from the Potohar region and the rest of Punjab and Kashmir have also been affected due to the suspension of air operations. A number of Pakistanis said on social media websites that they have been stranded at international airports for hours due to the cancellation of flights to Islamabad and Lahore airports.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2014.