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'Were you in your senses': SC censures GB minister for misbehaving with Islamabad airport officials

Updated November 30, 2018

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Screengrab from video shows a passenger, believed to be Fida Hussain, allegedly misbehaving with the arrival incharge of Islamabad airport. — Photo courtesy Facebook video
Screengrab from video shows a passenger, believed to be Fida Hussain, allegedly misbehaving with the arrival incharge of Islamabad airport. — Photo courtesy Facebook video

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday censured the Gilgit-Baltistan Tourism Minister Fida Hussain for his misbehaviour with an Islamabad airport official earlier this month, and ordered him to submit a written apology for his conduct.

The chief justice had taken notice of Hussain's alleged misbehaviour on Nov 16 after a video showing a man shoving an official at Islamabad International Airport and burning his own luggage in protest against a delay in his flight went viral on social media.

Justice Nisar, who is heading the three-judge Supreme Court bench hearing the case, summoned Islamabad police chief Amir Zulfiqar Khan so that a case could be registered against Hussain.

However, the court later wrapped up the matter after accepting the apology submitted by the minister.

"The reason for forgiving [you] is our immense love for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan," CJP Nisar told Hussain, warning him to be cautious in the future.

In his written apology, the minister said he was ashamed over his actions and would accept whatever punishment the court handed to him.

However, the SC bench told him that he did not need to apologise to the court because he hadn't violated any orders, but that he should amend his apology to directly address the airport official who had been "mocked".

The top judge earlier took the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad to task, asking him why he hadn't appeared in court since he was transferred to the post on Nov 2. "Leave your pride and arrogance at home when you arrive here," he said. "This is a court."

CJP Nisar informed IGP Khan that misconduct had taken place at the airport and asked him what action had been taken.

IGP Khan told the chief justice that the incident did not fall within the jurisdiction of the capital police, but the Punjab police, to which Justice Nisar asked, "Where is the advocate general Punjab?"

The CJP said that the court would hear the issue as a suo motu case and directed the attorney general to look into the matter.

'Do you have no shame?'

Prior to the IGP's arrival in court, the CJP took Hussain to task and ordered the video of the incident be played in the courtroom.

"Did you push [the airport official]?" the judge questioned the minister. "Are you educated?"

The minister admitted that he had pushed the airport official.

"Were you in your senses at the time?" CJP Nisar asked, wondering how Hussain had dared to interfere with official affairs.

The minister admitted that he had pushed the official but it was not due to ill intentions. "I did push him, but there is a story behind it," Hussain said.

"Is this how one behaves when a flight is delayed?" Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked the minister.

The CJP asked him: "Are you a thug [badmaash]? Do you have no shame over pushing [the airport official]?" He remarked that a poor man had been mocked.

Hussain responded that he was ashamed of his actions and asked the court to forgive him, to which the chief justice said the minister would not be granted forgiveness, and that a case would be registered against him immediately.

Protests against delay at Islamabad Airport

A Gilgit-bound Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-607 scheduled for 7am on Nov 16 was first delayed due to technical reasons and cancelled later that day due to bad weather.

Videos of an angry passenger protesting against the delay went viral on social media that day.

The passenger, reported by the videographer to be Hussain, set fire to his possessions in protest over the delay, including "an expensive jacket".

When a fire extinguisher was brought to put the flames out, the passenger kicked it away in anger, as seen in the video.

Furthermore, when an airport security official approached him to address the matter, the passenger was seen holding his arms up and repeating: "Go bring handcuffs."

In another video, the same man, reportedly the tourism minister, was seen arguing with a white-uniformed official.

"The weather is bad you say. The weather is bad for one flight and not the other?" he exclaimed incredulously before proceeding to ask the white-uniformed man his designation.

"I am the arrival in charge," responded the man, introducing himself.

At this the vexed passenger's annoyance turned to hostility, and he asked him to bring the manager of operations. He shoved the arrival in charge hard, which caused him to skid across the airport floor and stumble.

Later that day, the PIA spokesperson said CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik talked to GB Law Minister Aurangzeb Khan, who was also going to travel on the flight, and told him that the flight had been cancelled due to bad weather.

He said the passengers were moved to hotels for the night and assured that a special flight would be operated for them on Nov 17.