RAWALPINDI: A delegation of senior Afghan leaders arrived in Islamabad on Sunday.

The 10-member delegation, including Speaker of the House of the People Mir Rehman Rehmani, Salahuddin Rabbani, former interior minister Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, Ustad Muhammad Karim Khalili, Ahmad Zia Masoud, Ahmad Wali Massoud, Abdul Latif Pedram and Khalid Noor, was received by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qasir and other Pakistani officials at the Islamabad airport.

Earlier, two Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights, including the one carrying the 10 Afghan leaders, were suspended at the Kabul airport due a special military transport. Both the flights were later allowed to fly to Islamabad.

The first PIA flight (PK-6250) landed at the new Islamabad International Airport at 5.25pm, while the second flight (PK-6252) touched down at the airport at 7.05pm.

PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said that both the planes were fully ready to take off from the Kabul airport when the flights were suspended due to special military transport.

He said that besides the PIA flights, many other airlines had been waiting in the air for this transport. However, after the arrival of a few special planes, the first PIA flight was allowed to fly to Islamabad, he added.

According to sources, a total of 499 passengers were on board the two PIA flights.

One of the PIA planes was Boeing 777 with 329 passengers, including 10 Afghan leaders on board, and the other was Airbus A 320 with 170 passengers. Among the passengers were diplomats from Pakistan and their families.

Published in Dawn, August 16h, 2021

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