LAHORE - Customs authorities arrested a PIA employee involved in facilitation of 1,836 mobile phones smuggling worth Rs45 million at Lahore airport on Wednesday morning.

Earlier, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Airport Security Force (ASF) and the PIA security had sent repeated complaints to the station manager concerned about the involvement of PIA employees in smuggling, money laundering and other violations but he remained unmoved. Well placed sources in the airline said that no action against airline employee was taken till filing of this news.

On Wednesday, Customs authorities arrested a passenger Riaz who reached Lahore from Abu Dhabi. The man was travelling with five other family members including three women and two children. When the family landed at Lahore airport, two PIA daily wager employees Fahad Rasheed and Muhammad Irfan received them and tried to brief them from immigration and customs counters.

When they reached at customs counter, the customs officer asked the PIA employees to pass the baggage through scanner. No sooner customs officer put the baggage on scanner, the women with the accused passenger tried to flee. During the search, 1,836 iPhones were recovered from their baggage.

Customs authorities immediately took the passenger and two PIA daily wagers employees into custody. During preliminary investigations, PIA employees disclosed that they were handling the accused passenger on directions of one PIA permanent employee Nasrullah.

Customs officers telephoned Nasrullah but he did not attend calls; finally on the interference of PIA vigilance, Nasrullah attended phone call and reached the spot.

Customs authorities arrested him along with passenger Riaz and two other employees, Fahad Rasheed and Muhammad Irfan.

PIA spokesman Mashhud Tajwar told The Nation that after the incident, PIA management has immediately terminated the services of two daily wages employees and action would be taken against the permanent employee after a report would be received from Customs.