Kabul refuses landing to Pakistani plane carrying lawmakers
Natioinal Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser sitting at the airport.
The Afghan authorities on Thursday declined to allow the landing of a Pakistani plane carrying a parliamentary delegation led by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, reported 24NewsHD TV channel, quoting sources.
According to the sources, the officials at the Kabul Airport refused to budge as the Afghan parliament, which invited the Pakistani parliamentary delegation, failed to get clearance from the Afghan government.
However, the media wing of the Parliament House in Islamabad announced on Thursday that the visit of Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser to Afghanistan was postponed due to the closure of the Kabul Airport at the last moment, citing security reasons.
The Speaker was heading a nine-member parliamentary delegation to Kabul on the special invitation of his counterpart Chairman Wolsi Jirga Afghanistan Mir Rehman Rahmani, aimed at enhancing people-to-people contacts.
However, Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan in a tweet said “Speaker’s visit to Kabul postponed as airport was closed due to security threat.”
He said “the plane was about to descend when the control tower informed of the closure of airport. New dates for the visit will be decided after mutual consultations.”
Speaker's visit to Kabul postponed as airport was closed due to security threat. The plane was about to descent when the control tower informed of the closure of airport. New dates for the visit will be decided after mutual consultations.— Mohammad Sadiq (@AmbassadorSadiq) April 8, 2021
According to the data available from the flight tracker Flightradar 24 and shared by an unofficial PIA enthusiast the aircraft circled for some time near Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Airport, before heading back home.
Today, PIA Airbus A320 (aircraft registration AP-BLA) flight PK249 from Islamabad to Kabul returned to Islamabad due to closure of Kabul Airport for security reason.— History of PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (@historyofpia1) April 8, 2021
Details: https://t.co/nFZXFiB489 pic.twitter.com/X59mQUz1a9
The delegation comprised Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Sadiq Khan, MNAs Shandan Gulzaar, Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh, Sajid Khan, Maulana Salauddin Ayubi, Gul Dad Khan, Ghulam Mustafa Shah and Secretary National Assembly. The delegation was on a four-day visit to Kabul.
Prior to his visit the Speaker in a brief video message said he looked forward to closer ties with the people of Afghanistan. He said the delegation planned to hold wide-ranging discussions, including deliberations on the Afghan peace and cross-border trade.
According to Afghan website TOLOnews, Pakistani parliament speaker Asad Qaiser’s planned three-day visit to Kabul has been cancelled for security reasons, according to the head of the Afghan parliament's secretariat.
The visit was expected to happen on Thursday.
Reports of explosives being placed under a building near the Kabul Airport prevented a plane carrying Asad Qaiser from landing, said Reyaz Arian, the commander of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. “According to the reports, the explosive was placed a while ago,” he said.
In the meantime, the Afghan parliament's secretariat office said that Qaiser’s trip will happen in the near future.
Reporter Zeeshan Bhatti with inputs from agencies