Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan minister allegedly sets clothes on fire, shoves airport official over flight delay

ISLAMABAD (DAWN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) tourism minister Fida Hussain and the arrival-in-charge at Islamabad Airport to appear before the court on Saturday (Nov 17) and explain Mr Hussain’s alleged misbehaviour with the airport official following a Thursday flight delay.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar issued court summons on Friday asking both Mr Hussain and the airport official to appear before the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry on Saturday.

“As per media reports, the incident took place over a flight delay due to bad weather and the minister pushed the arrival in-charge so hard that he stumbled,” said the Supreme Court notice.

Last Thursday, Gilgit-bound Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK607 scheduled for 7am was first delayed due to technical reasons and cancelled later due to bad weather.

Videos of an angry passenger protesting against the delay went viral on social media that day.

The passenger, reported by the videographer to be Mr Hussain, set fire to his possessions in protest over the delay, including “an expensive jacket”. When a fire extinguisher was brought to put the flames out, the passenger kicked it away in anger, as seen in the video.

Furthermore, when an airport security official approaches him to address the matter, the passenger can be seen holding his arms up and repeating: “Go bring handcuffs.”

In another video, the same man, reportedly the tourism minister, can be seen arguing with a white-uniformed official.

“The weather is bad you say. The weather is bad for one flight and not the other?” he exclaimed incredulously before proceeding to ask the white-uniformed man his designation.

“I am the arrival-in-charge,” responded the man, introducing himself.

At this, the vexed passenger’s annoyance turns to hostility and, asking him to bring the manager of operations, he shoves the arrival-in-charge hard, causing him to skid across the airport floor and stumble.

Later that day, a PIA spokesman said CEO air marshal Arshad Malik talked to GB law minister Aurangzeb Khan, who was also going to travel on the flight, and told him that the flight had been cancelled due to bad weather.

He said the passengers were moved to hotels for the night and assured that a special flight will be operated for them on Friday.

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