KARACHI: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Saturday suspended an official for allegedly threatening a fellow officer with a blasphemy case if she did not allow him to enter the airport’s cargo area in his friend’s vehicle that too without number plate.

The incident went viral on social media, prompting PPP-Parliamentarian president Asif Zardari to ask federal and provincial authorities to provide security to the female officer.

“An attempt was made to take a vehicle without number plate at the cargo area of Karachi Airport, which led to a scuffle,” a CAA spokesperson said and added that the incident occurred on Thursday.

After a preliminary probe, the employee, identified as Saleem, has been suspended while a thorough inquiry has been ordered, the spokesperson said.

According to details, a woman, later identified as CAA’s vigilance in charge Samina Mushtaq, tried to stop an unauthorised vehicle from entering cargo area. This infuriated fellow employee, Saleem, who asked her to allow him to park the vehicle in the airport parking area otherwise he would give the incident a “colour of blasphemy”.

A viral video showed when Saleem uttered the word ‘blasphemy’, the woman official told him that he was free to implicate a ‘Christian’ woman in a blasphemy case but in fact it was him who was committing disrespect to his religion.

Meanwhile, former president Zardari demanded that an inquiry be launched since it’s a dangerous precedent to level blasphemy charges.

He asked the federal and provincial governments to take steps for security of the female officer.

“Certain elements were defaming Pakistan by misusing the religion,” he said.

Published in Dawn, january 8th, 2023

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