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LAHORE: A PIA flight attendant has slipped away in Canada and reportedly sought asylum there, it emerged on Tuesday. Fareeha Mukhtar was part of the crew on a PIA flight from Lahore to Toronto last week, a PIA official told Dawn.

“On its scheduled return to the country, Ms Mukhtar did not turn up [in Toronto] and the flight of the national flag carrier had to proceed without her,” he said, adding that the PIA administration had launched an inquiry into the incident after suspending her from service.

According to a source, the attendant was suspended a few years ago as well for her alleged involvement in smuggling mobile phones and foreign currency. "She was banned from flying on international flights, but somehow managed to get the Toronto flight last week and slipped away upon reaching there."

Athar Awan, the spokesperson for PIA, told Dawn that Ms Mukhtar had been suspended and a show-cause letter sent to her. “An inquiry into the matter has been ordered and the PIA is pursuing the matter with Canadian authorities.”

When his attention was drawn to reports that Fareeha Mukhtar had sought asylum in Canada, he said he had no information.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2018