"he said 'US dollars you got, you know, any currency will do'."
An airport officer has been taken into custody after he was accused of taking a bribe from an Australian journalist.
He was detained after Prime Minister Imran Khan intervened. He had directed Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials to investigate the matter and to arrest the accused.
According to CAA officials, they have suspended the entry pass issued to the suspect who supposedly works for a private company operating within the airport’s Commercially Important Person (CIP) lounge.
Dennis Freedman is the journalist who uncovered the corruption.
He had been covering the Pakistan Super League (PSL). After returning to Melbourne, he shared his experience with the airport officer at Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore.
Mr Freedman described the incident as the “bad side of Pakistan” but went on to say that every country has a bad side.
He explained that an official helped him get through the immigration line saving him from the long queue. However, he later asked for a bribe.
“I was going through immigration but while I was lining up, some guy walks up to me, a plainclothes officer, and says ‘would you like to come with me please sir, we’ll just go on the quick lane’.”
Mr Freedman went on to say that it was the “gora card”, a privilege sometimes enjoyed by foreign nationals in Pakistan.
He continued: “It was a long line so I took advantage of it and he takes me to the front of the line and in two seconds, my passport was stamped.
“Then he walks me into the airport lounge and sits me down and he’s carrying my bags the whole way and then asks me for money.
“When I said to him that I don’t have any money, he said ‘US dollars you got, you know, any currency will do’.
“I had about 350 rupees left and I gave him that to shut him up and make him go away.”
Mr Freedman then expressed his regret over giving the airport officer the money.
“I wish I hadn’t. Instead, I wish I’d actually called the corruption line. They were sitting there and I noticed later but that was my error, I’ll learn from that.”
My story of corruption in Lahore airport pic.twitter.com/5iUFjqFrxh
— Dennis NOT BRITISH (@DennisCricket_) March 10, 2020
The journalist then called for the man not to be sacked. Instead, he called for more education on the matter in order to stop future instances of corruption from happening.
“Now I don’t want this guy sacked, I don’t want him to get into trouble because I know everything that happens in an airport is filmed and someone will watch this and find the guy.
“What I do want is some education and I want to share my story that I made a mistake by giving this guy cash and the best to have dealt with it would have been to say no and hold my ground.”