Pakistan assures full security as Sri Lanka warned over terror threat during trip

Sri Lanka’s cricket board said Wednesday it had received warnings its national team could be the target of a terror attack during an upcoming tour of Pakistan. (AP/File)
Updated 12 September 2019

Pakistan assures full security as Sri Lanka warned over terror threat during trip

  • Pakistan Cricket Board says will continue to address Lankan reservations
  • Ten senior Sri Lankan players have already opted out of the tour citing security concerns

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s cricket board said Wednesday it had received warnings its national team could be the target of a terror attack during an upcoming tour of Pakistan.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Office had received “reliable information of a possible terrorist threat” against the national squad ahead of the six-match limited overs tour, the board said.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) stopped short of calling off the tour, but said a reassessment of the security situation would be sought from Sri Lankan government authorities.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said it was not aware of any information relating to the safety of the Sri Lankan team, but reiterated its committment to provide security.
“We have seen the SLC statement, but are not privy to any information or intelligence report relating to safety of the SL team,” the PCB said on Twitter.
“The PCB reiterates its commitment to provide complete safety and security to the SL side and in this relation will continue to work with the SLC.”
The Sri Lanka team was the target of an attack during a Test match in Pakistan’s Lahore in March 2009. Six Sri Lankan players were injured when gunmen attacked their bus. Six Pakistan policemen and two civilians were killed.
Ten senior players have already opted out of the tour citing security concerns.
Sri Lanka played one T20 match against Pakistan at Lahore in October 2017.
The latest statement from Sri Lanka Cricket came a short while after the board announced two squads for the three One-Day Internationals and the three T20 matches starting September 27.
Since the 2009 attack, a majority of international teams have refused to tour the South Asian country.


EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

Updated 01 July 2020

EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

  • The step has been taken due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards
  • PIA expects the ‘earliest possible’ lifting of suspension after action by the government and the airline

ISLAMABAD: The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) authorization to fly to the bloc for six months, the airline said on Tuesday, in a major blow to the country’s flag carrier.
Separately, the safety agency said it took the action due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards at all times.
The suspension follows Pakistan’s grounding of 262 of the country’s 860 pilots — including 141 of PIA’s 434 — whose licenses the aviation minister termed “dubious.”
“EASA has temporarily suspended PIA’s authorization to operate to the EU member states for a period of six months effective July 1, 2020 with the right to appeal,” PIA said in a statement. It added it would temporarily discontinue all its flights to Europe.
Confirming the move in an emailed statement, the EASA referred to a recent investigation by Pakistan which it said showed a “large share” of pilot licenses to be invalid.
Pakistan’s grounding of the pilots followed a preliminary report on a PIA crash in Karachi that killed 97 people last month.
PIA said it is in contact with the EASA to take corrective measures and appeal against the decision, adding that it expected the “earliest possible” lifting of the suspension after action by the government and the airline.
The EASA also suspended the authorization of another Pakistani airline, Vision Air International.
Vision Air International did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Following the EASA’s decision, the UK Civil Aviation Authority said it, too, was withdrawing PIA’s permit to operate from three of its airports, as required under law.
“PIA flights from Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester airports are suspended with immediate effect,” a spokesman for the UK authority told Reuters.
The three were major flying destinations for the airline.
Meanwhile, Pakistani pilots and their union, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA), say there are discrepancies in the government’s list of pilots with licenses deemed dubious and are demanding a judicial investigation.
PIA and private airline Air Blue have also queried the list with PIA saying 36 of its pilots mentioned had either retired or left the airline, while Air Blue said it no longer employed seven of nine pilots on the list.
“It contains names of highly educated and qualified pilots who have passed all the tests,” PALPA’s president, Chaudhry Salman, told Reuters. “We want a fair and impartial resolution to this matter.”
An official at Pakistan’s aviation ministry, Abdul Sattar Khokhar, said they did not have full details of the discrepancies. “The issue is being sorted out in consultation with airlines and civil aviation authorities.”