KARACHI: Pakistan International Airline’s (PIA) maintenance crew on Wednesday discovered 27 kilograms of heroin on board a PIA aircraft.

The heroin was concealed in lavatory panels, and was discovered while routine maintenance was being carried out at the PIA hangar at Karachi’s international airport.

The aircraft had arrived from Lahore on the evening of May 24, and was expected to fly onwards to Europe, but was instead sent to the hangar for routine maintenance.

“The aircraft was scheduled to go for maintenance, and was not scheduled to fly,” confirmed a PIA spokesperson, he added that he did not have any information regarding the craft’s flight schedule.

It is pertinent to mention that this is not the first attempt to smuggle illegal drugs using similar means. The authorities are aware of the method used by the smugglers but have yet to make any arrests.

The narcotics were confiscated by Customs and Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) officials at Karachi airport. An investigation into the incident has been initiated.

Customs officials have in the past written letters to PIA for cooperation regarding probes into heroin smuggling aboard the national carrier’s aircraft, but have not received a satisfactory reply from the airline.

Earlier in September, Dawn reported that the management of PIA terminated the service of a flight steward who was caught by United Kingdom authorities at Heathrow airport while trying to smuggle mobile phones through a PIA flight.

PIA crew members have also been arrested in the past for attempting to smuggle narcotics on flights bound for international destinations.

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