Man Seized From PIA Plane In UK Charged With Fraud

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A man arrested after a Pakistan International Airlines commercial flight from Lahore to London’s Heathrow Airport was diverted to Stansted Airport in southern England has been named as 52-year-old Khalid Baqa of Priory Road, East London.

He has been charged with false representation, an offence under the Fraud Act.

No details of his alleged offence are available but he will appear in Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in London on Feb 23.

The PIA flight, PK-757, landed at Stansted escorted by RAF Typhoon fighter jets, which had been scrambled from the nearby Coningsby Royal Air Force base.

It seems the police’s original plan has been to detain Baqa at Heathrow airport but because of the diversion they caught up with him at Stansted instead.

Initial reports said that the plane was diverted because of the actions of a disruptive passenger.

British authorities remain tight-lipped about diversion of PK-757
But speaking to a radio station in the UK, one of the passengers who had been on board PK-757 said there was no apparent problem on the plane.

“There was no-one being disruptive on the plane,’ passenger Naz Amin told LBC, a radio station in London.

Mobile phone pictures taken by fellow passengers also showed that everything was calm as two policemen escorted Baqa off the plane.

It is still not clear why the plane was diverted.

The PIA said in a statement that the UK authorities received a “vague security threat through an anonymous phone call” suggesting there was a problem with the flight.

There is no evidence that the call had anything to do with Mr Baqa having been on board.

PIA spokesman Danyal Gilani confirmed to Dawn that, like other airlines, the PIA also shared its flight manifests with law enforcement officials of other countries.

Yahya Polani, a former chairman of the Travel Agents Association of Pakistan, explained that law enforcement/immigration officials received a final manifest comprising list of those who had been given boarding cards from the airlines concerned after the flight took off.

It is routine for planes involved in security situations to be diverted to Stansted airport.

The plane was held in an area reserved for emergency situations, well away from the main terminal buildings. Emergency vehicles were placed nearby as it landed.

Four years ago Khalid Javed Baqa, father of six, was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to possessing collections of terrorist publications that contained extreme ideology and material relating to violent jihad.

Courtesy: Dawn

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