ISLAMABAD - The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) has achieved “major breakthrough” in the case of narcotics smuggling through aircrafts of state-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the interior minister was informed on Wednesday.

Director-General ANF Major General Musarat Nawaz Malik on Wednesday told Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan that the force had got a major lead in the smuggling cases, a spokesperson of the interior ministry said.

In a telephonic conversation, the DG ANF informed the minister that some arrests were made in this regard and more developments were expected in the next few weeks.

The minister has directed the ANF that there should be no leniency towards the culprits as the incident had damaged the country’s repute.  “The cases should be taken to its logical end at [the] earliest,” said Nisar.

The recovery of heroin from two PIA aircrafts, one at Heathrow Airport London and second at Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad sent a wave of shock among government circles. The government feared that the incidents might have consequence of banning of the PIA flights in Europe and other countries.

Earlier, in the first week of June, the ANF had told the Senate Standing Committee on Interior that no arrest had been made so far in the two separate incidents as they could not get a lead in the case till yet.

Brig Hammad Ahmed Dogar, enforcement commander ANF had informed the committee that the force had probed around 60 suspects including ground staff at the airport, its sanitary workers and cabin crew but no arrest could be made in the case yet.

The ANF officer said that a separate inquiry headed by senior police officer Hussain Asghar was underway on the directions of the prime minister and his findings would have much more significance.

“All agencies concerned including the ANF, and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) etc are included in this inquiry team,” he had said. The prime minister had to use the same plane, from which heroin was found at the Islamabad airport two days later, for his foreign tour and this could have caused embracement for Pakistan, if heroin was found in the plane of the prime minister at some international airport.

British authorities are conducting a separate probe into the London incident themselves and authorities here in Pakistan claim that the UK had not shared any findings of the inquiry with Pakistan. On May 22, 14.7 kg of heroin was recovered from a London-bound PIA flight at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport during an inspection led by the ANF.

Earlier, British authorities in the second week of May had said that they had found a “quantity of heroin” from a PIA flight that had landed at Heathrow Airport.

Later, it emerged that the quantity was around 11kg.