The Pakistan International Airlines has initiated an inquiry against one of its pilot for allowing Reham Khan, ex-wife of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, to sit in the cockpit during her journey to Lahore from London. This is in breach of security protocol.
“According to initial probe, it has been found that Reham Khan visited the cockpit for a few minutes during flight PK-788 London-Lahore on Thursday,” PIA spokesman Danial Gilani told Dawn. According to the pilot’s statement to the administration, he had ‘entertained’ the request of Reham Khan to sit in the cockpit.
Mr Gilani also confirmed that Ms Reham had expressed her desire to sit in the cockpit, which the pilot could not turn down. “Although it appears a courtesy on the part of the pilot, the PIA cannot ignore the rules,” Mr Gilani said, adding that under the law, unauthorised persons were not allowed into the cockpit.
“The responsibility lies with the pilot not to allow anyone be it a celebrity or anyone else to sit in the cockpit,” he said. “This is against the law and a safety hazard.”
“The PIA management has initiated an inquiry into the matter. It will take appropriate disciplinary action against the pilot in light of the inquiry’s findings,” the spokesman said.
According to sources the PIA had to launch a formal inquiry after pictures of Reham’s sitting in the cockpit were uploaded on social media. “It was very difficult for the PIA management to ignore this matter after her pictures appeared on social media. All the guns would have been towards the PIA had it not taken action in this regard,” he said.
Interestingly, the PIA officials also accorded Reham Khan a warm welcome at the Lahore airport. Danial Gilani, however, said if someone in PIA had warmly received her at the airport in his or her individual capacity, the management did not mind.
Reham Khan could not be reached for her version despite repeated attempts.