INTERNATIONAL

Islamabad-bound PIA flight from Saudi carrying Pak PM Sharif diverted to Lahore, inconveniencing other passengers

Lahore, An Islamabad-bound PIA flight carrying Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz and a high-level delegation back from their visit to Saudi Arabia was diverted to Lahore airport, causing inconvenience to hundreds of other passengers, according to a media report on Wednesday.

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Interestingly, the incident came close on the heels of Prime Minister Sharif recently declaring a ban on the red carpet at events in his favour, which earned accolades for signalling a shift towards eradicating the VIP culture and encouraging a culture of humility within the realm of public service.

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Quoting a PIA spokesperson, the Dawn newspaper reported that the Pakistan International Airlines flight from Jeddah to Islamabad, carrying Sharif and his daughter Maryam back from their visit to Saudi Arabia, was diverted to Lahore airport on Monday.

When asked whether this was special treatment, the spokesperson of the ailing national flag carrier said, “VIPs were treated like commercial passengers.”

The flight PK842 carrying 393 passengers, which was supposed to land in Islamabad at 10:30 pm on Monday, was diverted to Allama Iqbal International Airport here and landed at 9:25 pm, the report said.

The Prime Minister, the Chief Minister and other VIPs disembarked at Lahore, which caused inconvenience to hundreds of other Islamabad-bound passengers, the report said, quoting sources.

Official sources said the commercial flight from Jeddah to Islamabad carried the official Pakistani delegation returning from Saudi Arabia. Apart from Sharif and Maryam, the delegation included Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and others, along with their family members.

Videos circulating on social media showed passengers expressing their anger, but they had no other option but to wait until the VIPs disembarked before continuing their journey to Islamabad.

After offloading about 79 passengers, the flight eventually took off for Islamabad and landed at the Islamabad International Airport at 11:17 pm instead of 10:30 pm.

Prime Minister Sharif was in Saudi Arabia on his first foreign visit after assuming charge last month.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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