Pakistan faces big embarrassment as Malaysia seizes PIA flight due to non-payment of lease dues


In one of the rarest incidents in the history of international civil aviation that signals the state of Pak economy, Malaysia has seized a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing-777 aeroplane at the Kuala Lumpur Airport owing to non-payment of aircraft lease dues. The PIA plane was seized on the orders of a local Malaysian court over the non-payment of aircraft lease dues, Geo News reported. The PIA had leased two aircraft, including the Boeing-777, from a Vietnamese company in 2015. The plane was seized after passengers had already boarded the aircraft.

PIA said that its aircraft has been seized on the orders of a local court in Malaysia which, it alleged, has taken a one-sided decision pertaining to a legal dispute between the PIA and another party pending in a UK court. “The passengers are being looked after and alternate arrangements for their travel have been finalised,” read a PIA tweet. “We were told that the plane has been impounded on a court order,” PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez Khan said in a video statement. “PIA’s legal team will pursue it in the Malaysian court, and we hope that we will resolve this issue as soon as possible,” he said.

According to PIA, Flight 895 from Karachi had reached Kuala Lumpur and was supposed to fly back to Islamabad immediately. All the passengers and crew members were sent to a hotel in Kuala Lumpur. According to sources, the leasing company had filed a case against the PIA in a UK court in October 2020 for its failure to pay the leasing fee of about $14 million, which had been pending for a period of six months.

The Pakistan civil aviation authorities has said that with the ongoing situation, the PIA will now have to clear all the dues at once to get the aircraft back, according to Pak media reports. Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement that the aircraft was being held pending legal proceedings set for January 24.

Pak Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri has said the Pakistani High Commission in Malaysia was in close contact with the relevant Malaysian authorities and PIA to address the issue at the earliest.

Opposition PML-N Secretary information Marriyum Aurangzeb slammed the government for embarrassing Pakistan in the whole world by getting PIA airliner detained in Malaysia. In a statement, Marriyum said the “selected” prime minister and his “incompetent, corrupt and inept imposed government” should be charged with defamation of the country over this incident.

She questioned, “Was the illegal foreign funding sent to Imran with an agenda of destroying the country’s economy, obliterating all businesses, creating mass unemployment, skyrocketing inflation and causing such embarrassment to Pakistan? Was it sent to Imran Khan so that he would declare all degrees of Pakistani pilots illegal to get a blanket ban imposed on the national flag carrier?”

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