LAHORE: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Lahore, has recommended action against real estate tycoon Malik Riaz and his wife for defying Covid restrictions at the Allama Iqbal International Airport.

The airport’s chief operating officer/airport manager forwarded his recommendation to top authorities at the CAA Headquarters in Karachi after Malik Riaz and his wife Bina Riaz refused to undergo Covid test.

The CAA had, on May 1, issued fresh operational protocols for inbound passenger flights directing all international airlines to ensure that standard operating procedures were followed by all passengers and crew.

It had further said that all passengers would also be required to undergo RAT upon arrival and non-compliance would result in strict punitive action.

Through an official letter written on Monday, AIIA COO Akthar Mirza said that Malik Riaz, his wife and a passenger accompanying them flatly refused the Covid tests twice – first at the airport and then at their residence where a team was dispatched later.

“On May 16 the Bahria Town CEOalong with four other passengers arrived at Allama Iqbal International Airport from Dubai by a chartered flight and landed at Stand No 2,” reads the official letter.

“After immigration formalities, the CAA duty staff requested them for antigen (Covid) test but they didn’t respond and rather rushed to the international arrival exit gate,” says the letter.

The CAA staff again informed them about the government instructions but “the Bahria Town CEO, his wife and passenger Shahid Mahmood Qureshi left the airport without antigen test.” However, other passengers accompanying Malik Riaz did undergo the test and found negative. The airport manager further stated that a team of the Lahore airport health staff was sent to the residence of Malik Riaz but he again refused to give samples.

Cantonment Division SP Operations Sayyed Ali said police had not received any complaint against the above-mentioned passengers.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2021

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