Pakistani parliamentarians booed off plane

2014-09-16 17:30

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Islamabad - Two parliamentarians in Pakistan were forced off a plane by passengers angry at a two-hour delay to their flight, a news report said on Tuesday.

Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flight PK-370 from the southern port city of Karachi to the capital Islamabad, was due to leave at 18:00 on Monday.

At 20:30, two final passengers were preparing to board in first class: ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker Ramesh Kumar, and opposition Pakistan People's Party's senator and former interior minister Rehman Malik, The Express Tribune reported.

Footage taken on passengers' mobile phones showed Kumar was booed off the plane after taking his seat, by passengers who blamed him for the delay, while Malik was met with a barrage of abuse at the door and prevented from boarding, the report said.

Kumar argued he had been waiting just outside, and blamed the delay on the plane "waiting for someone else," the report said.

Malik denied any responsibility. "I have [the] moral courage to apologise if I had caused the delay," he tweeted. "And what influence do I have on PIA to delay [the flight]?" he said.

"I saw two passengers abusing PIA. I saw them and returned to the lounge," he said.

The crew initially told passengers there was a technical hold-up, and a spokesman told Express News the plane had arrived late from its previous flight, the report said.

But some of the crew let slip to the passengers it was actually waiting for two VIPs, it said.

PIA has suspended two of its employees over the incident, according to the report.

No government official was immediately available for comment.

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