Detained PIA crew returns home from London

KARACHI: Around a dozen and a half crew members of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight that were stopped by UK authorities after discovery of heroin from the plane have returned to the country after three days.

The captain of the flight [PK-785] had returned to Pakistan on Wednesday whereas the remaining crew reached Karachi airport from London early Thursday morning via PK-788.

Upon their arrival, the crew was debriefed by the PIA Vigilance GM and then allowed to exit the airport after their statements were recorded.

On May 15, when the PIA plane landed at Heathrow airport in London from Islamabad, UK border authorities carried out a thorough search of the plane on suspicion of narcotics smuggling and reportedly questioned and detained crew members, including the captain of the plane.

Speaking to Geo News on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman of the UK National Crime Agency — which is now investigating the incident — said it cannot disclose any information about the operational matter of the drug bust but confirmed that “a quantity of heroin, a class A prohibited drug under UK law, was found concealed within the aircraft by Border Force officers”.

Further investigations are under way by the UK authorities.

In Pakistan, according to the latest reports from investigating officials, the use of sniffer dogs by Pakistan Customs and the Anti-Narcotics Force — a standard operation protocol — was not carried out on the PIA flight in question.

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