Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) staff member has been arrested by the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) in a heroin smuggling case.  ANF Wednesday arrested accused Iqbal Ghurki for his alleged involvement in smuggling heroin in various flights. According to initial reports, ANF arrested the accused from Lahore for stashing away bags of heroin in several flights of the national flag carrier. Authorities at PIA were also informed about the arrest.

Heroin was being smuggled on PIA flights with the help of one of its employees, Iqbal Ghurki, the ANF officials said. However, PIA spokesperson, Daniyal Gilani, did not directly address the arrest, saying some PIA officials had been handed over to agencies for investigation.

After recent incidents of attempted drug smuggling in PIA aircraft, the security and vigilance department of the airlines carried out an in house exercise to scrutinise the conduct of its staff members. In view of the findings several employees have been shuffled from their places of posting while a few have been handed over to agencies for formal investigation, he said.

Earlier, taking offence at delay in fixing responsibility for stashing away around 30-kg heroin in two different flights of the national flag carrier, a parliamentary panel in July gave a 60-day deadline to investigating authorities for completing the task.

The matter was taken up by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat with Rana Muhammad Hayat Khan in the chair.

During the proceedings, the committee expressed displeasure over the slow progress in the investigation. The Customs and Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) were unable to fix responsibility for hiding heroin in two different flights of PIA.  It was during the month of May when customs officials recovered over 27-kg heroin from a PIA aircraft during an intelligence-based raid in Karachi. The officials conducted the raid at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport and seized nine packets of heroin from the lavatory of a Europe-bound aircraft parked in the hangar. In November last year, 3-kg heroin was found in a Dubai-bound flight of the PIA.