LONDON: The captain of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-785 whose entire crew was detained on smuggling suspicions by the UK authorities at Heathrow Airport will be returning to Pakistan on Wednesday.
The remaining crew, totaling 13 members, are still in London pending further possible questioning by UK authorities.
Prior to his departure from London, Captain Hamid Gardezi said he was kept in solitary confinement for almost six hours. He claimed he has no idea about the drugs’ discovery on the plance, adding that he has informed his seniors of the latest situation.
UK’s National Crime Agency, which is leading the investigation, said on Tuesday that its “officers are investigating following the seizure of a quantity of heroin found by Border Force officers onboard a flight from Pakistan at Heathrow on Monday, May 15”.
Talking in a news show on Geo News on Tuesday, PIA spokesman Mashhood Tajwar accepted that the airline’s crew might be involved in the incident.
Questioned as to how frequent drugs smuggling incidents on PIA flights could be possible without support from inside, the PIA spokesman agreed that no one department could be involved in such an incident.
Tajwar said other agencies like the Anti-Narcotics Force, Airport Security Force and Pakistan Customs is responsible for giving final clearance to a plane before the flight.
According to UK Border Agency (UKBA) sources, information had been received from Pakistan that there were narcotics onboard the Islamabad-London flight. There was suspicion that the crew might be involved and that narcotics were hidden in different panels and areas of the plane.
Customs authorities in Pakistan have started an investigation into how the plane laden with heroin was provided clearance to fly.