The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing PK-756, with 196 passengers on board, was returning from Riyadh when it was fired upon at Peshawar’s Bacha Khan airport.—Photo by Zahir Shah Sherazi
PESHAWAR, (Dawn): Flight operations at Peshawar’s Bacha Khan airport resumed on Wednesday after being temporarily suspended following last night’s terrorist attack on a landing plane, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said.
CAA authorities added that the routes leading to the airport were cleared for traffic.
Last night unidentified gunmen attacked the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing PK-756 as it came in to land at Peshawar’s Bacha Khan airport, killing a woman and injuring two flight stewards on board.
The PIA Boeing PK-756 had 196 passengers on board, arriving from Riyadh when it was fired upon.
The firing injured three people including two flight stewards and a woman, who later succumbed to her wounds.
The plane was hit by six bullets, police said, killing the woman and narrowly missing the captain. At least one bullet struck the plane’s engine, they added.
The woman’s daughter was sitting next to her when she was shot in the head, PIA official Mohammad Kifayatullah Khan told Reuters.
“When I went inside the plane, I saw the woman lying on the seat and her nine-year-old daughter was crying, ‘My mother is dead, my mother is dead’,” said Khan.
“All the passengers were panicked. Some of them wanted to get out as soon as possible because they were afraid of fire inside the plane.”
The army and police personnel conducted a search operation and arrested over 100 suspects.
Security was beefed up on all the routes to airport, additional personnel of security forces were also been posted.
Injured flight stewards, identified as Majid and Ijaz Chaudhry have been shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH).
Police officials and PIA spokesman Mashood Tajwar have confirmed the incident and the casualties.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Shah Farman told DawnNews that it was difficult to ascertain as to which direction the aircraft was fired upon.
He claimed that firing incidents like this are “a usual occurrence in the area”.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Najeebur Rehman said that 12 bullets were fired at the aircraft and they have launched a search operation in Pishtakara and the surroundings area. Security forces are also assisting the police in combing the area.
The attack follows a major Taliban assault on Karachi airport earlier this month that killed at least 32 people including all 10 attackers.
Security was put on high alert around the area amid the Pakistani military’s ongoing operation Zarb-i-Azb against militants in North Waziristan Agency, one of the country’s seven semi-autonomous tribal agencies next to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of which Peshawar is the capital.