Cutting of hair of female pilgrim: PM appoints Afzal Latif head of probe into Karachi airport incident

Decision follows submission of reports from both board of inquiry constituted by Aviation Division and court of inquiry established by ASF

By Sher Ali Khalti
June 17, 2024
Secretary of the Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat Afzal Latif. —Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) Secretariat webiste/File

LAHORE: The Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad has appointed Afzal Latif, the Secretary of the Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat, to conduct a thorough investigation and assign responsibility for the recent incident at Karachi airport where a female passenger’s hair was cut under suspicious circumstances.

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The decision follows the submission of reports from both the board of inquiry constituted by the Aviation Division and the court of inquiry established by the Airports Security Force (ASF) to the Prime Minister.

The prime minister has tasked Latif with conducting the investigation in accordance with relevant rules and submitting his findings within fifteen days for further review and action. Background of the Incident

Earlier, the Ministry of Aviation had initiated an inquiry into the incident involving Airports Security Force personnel cutting the hair of a woman pilgrim, Ms. Seema Bano, at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi.

The incident, which occurred on June 1, 2024, involved Ms. Bano and her husband, Muhammad Shafi Ahmed, who were traveling for Haj via flight SV-701. Although the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) had cleared Ms. Bano, ASF officials raised suspicions and proceeded to cut her hair during a search.

The Aviation Division’s order mandated the formation of a board of inquiry (BoI) to investigate the facts of the case, review existing procedures and protocols for passenger screening, and determine the responsibilities of the involved government entities. The BoI was instructed to finalize its report within two working days.

The board of inquiry has been directed to ascertain whether the ASF officials’ actions were in line with established protocols or if they overstepped their authority.

The inquiry aims to clarify the circumstances of the incident, ensure accountability, and implement measures to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

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