KARACHI: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has withdrawn its order that made mandatory for all air travellers to have their luggage wrapped in plastic sheets, a federal minister said on Sunday night.

“As per the decision of the federal government, all check-in baggage of international and domestic passengers are to be wrapped with plastic sheet at the initial stage of scanning at combined search counters of Airport Security Force, Anti-Narcotics Force and Customs,” said a CAA notification issued on July 18.

The decision drew strong criticism from public at large as well as ruling and opposition parties.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s point man Jahangir Khan Tareen termed it “illogical”. He tweeted on Sunday evening: “Just came across a very illogical notification issued by the CAA. Forcing passengers to wrap their luggage is not on. People should have the right to decide whether they want their luggage wrapped or not. The notification should be withdrawn asap.”

Before him, Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari also criticised the order in a Twitter posting that read: “At a personal level I think it is an absurd decision and financially an unnecessary burden on overseas Pakistanis visiting Pakistan. I believe it is compulsory for those going for Haj as part of the ‘Road to Makkah’ programme. But shdnt be for all other passengers.”

Late on Sunday night, she posted a CAA notification dated July 21 on Twitter, saying: “The incorrect notification withdrawn — as I had said this morning it was never a federal govt decision. Will ask to have an inquiry as to how and who in CAA put out such a notification. All bureaucracy should know that Federal Govt means Cabinet! This issue never discussed!”

The notification signed by CAA’s director commercial and estates reads: “The letter under reference is to be treated as cancelled ab initio with immediate effect.”

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2019

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