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Saudi officer barred from returning home

June 18, 2012

RAWALPINDI, June 18: A Saudi military officer who was reportedly manhandled by Airport Security Force (ASF) personnel at Benazir Bhutto International Airport on May 31 over a security clearance issue was not allowed to travel to his country on Monday and was asked to get his case cleared before leaving Pakistan.

A source said ASF staff at the airport had been informed that Group Captain Shukri Al Shehri of Saudi Air Force was leaving after completing his professional course at the National Defence University (NDU) in Islamabad.

A senior security officer said Mr Shukri did not turn up at the airport although he had a confirmed ticket for a Saudi Arabian Airline flight for Jeddah.

He was not allowed by the authorities concerned to leave the country until the conclusion of the case he had lodged against ASF personnel for manhandling him.

Mr Shukri’s son, who was to travel with him, was allowed to go.

An investigation report about the May 31 incident has already been sent to the defence ministry and the prime minister.

According to sources, the report contains statements of the ASF personnel on duty at the time and passengers’ record of flight SV-723 for Riyadh and relevant CCTV footage.

The sources said efforts were being made to get the two sides to reach a patch-up and resolve the issue.

The sources said an ASF inquiry held to pinpoint the security personnel responsible for the incident had also been completed.

They said the investigation report suggested that the Saudi officer and his younger son were not travelling on flight SV-723, although they held a ticket which Mr Shukri used to get into the passenger lounge to see off his elder son.

Mr Shukri had not informed the authorities concerned that he was leaving the country.

The incident happened when the Saudi officer’s younger son was stopped by ASF personnel while bypassing a walk-through gate. Seeing his son having been stopped by security personnel enraged him and he started arguing with them.