"We were stopped with cigarettes and were told to pay money"
An incident of corruption took place on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, when a Pakistani airport official was caught taking a bribe from a British passenger.
The Customs official worked at Islamabad International Airport. He allowed the passenger to carry 41 cigarette packets which had been seized in exchange for a payment.
Action was taken by undercover officials when the Customs official received Rs. 15,000 (£76) as a bribe. The official was subsequently arrested.
The passenger had been set to depart for Manchester on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight number PK-701.
It was reported that Muhammad Hussain had entered the airport with 41 packets of cigarettes.
Airport Security Force (ASF) checked his bags and found the cigarettes. They were confiscated while Mr Hussain was handed over to Customs official Ashraf.
However, during the boarding process, Mr Hussain went into the bathroom.
At that point, Ashraf followed him and said he would allow him to board the plane with the cigarettes if he paid him Rs. 15,000.
Mr Hussain handed over the money but an undercover officer caught Ashraf taking the bribe.
Ashraf was arrested while security officials returned the money to Mr Hussain, who later thanked the staff in a written note.
The note read: “We were stopped with cigarettes and were told to pay money and we would be allowed to travel and pay Rs. 15,000 to some Custom staff in [the] washroom.
“After his arrest, security counter ASF staff has given back the Rs. 15,000. Thank you.”
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was informed about the matter and immediately fired Ashraf from his job.
They told the Pakistani airport official to report to the headquarters.
The airport administration has also filed a complaint to the higher authorities of the Customs Department against Ashraf, who currently remains in custody.
This is not the first time where a case of bribery has taken place.
In September 2019, a British citizen was ejected from a flight after he tried to bribe customs officials and the Airport Narcotics Force (ANF).
According to reports, a passenger named Sohail was flying from Islamabad International Airport to Manchester.
Sohail had planned to carry 18 packets of cigarettes on the flight, however, when staff members stopped him, he offered them a bribe while filming the incident unfold.
Staff members did not take the bribe and following the incident, Sohail was immediately removed from the flight.