KARACHI: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has terminated the services of a catering official posted in Lahore for attempted heroin smuggling, its spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

“During the interrogation the official had confessed of being involved in the recent incident of attempted heroin smuggling,” he said.

Last week, the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) took four PIA employees into custody in connection with a failed bid to smuggle 6kg of heroin (worth over Rs60 million) to Dubai from Lahore.

It was connected to an earlier raid where 13 employees of the national flag carrier were taken into custody. However, some of them had to be released as no evidence was found against them.

The raid was a part of a coordinated effort of the PIA administration and ANF to stem the flow of drugs smuggling through the national flag carrier’s aircraft.

There have been several cases of heroin smuggling aboard PIA aircraft. In May this year, PIA maintenance crew discovered 27kg of heroin on board an 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 Jinnah International Airport.

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

This was not the first attempt to smuggle illegal drugs using similar means. The authorities were aware of the method used by the smugglers but have yet to make any arrests.

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