In a rarest of rare cases in the history of international civil aviation, Malaysian authorities had seized a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing-777 aeroplane at the Kuala Lumpur Airport owing to non-payment of aircraft lease dues.
While the seizure of the PIA plane over non-payment of dues gave the world a sneak peek into the current economic condition of Pakistan, it also gave an opportunity to Imran Khan’s opponents to poke fun at him and his government, which has cautiously led the country into a state of deep financial crisis.
Amidst the entire fiasco, a video has surfaced where a Pakistani lawmaker Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party is heard taking a dig at Pakistan PM Imran Khan. At around 9.20 minutes into the video that has since gone viral, the Pakistani lawmaker is heard asking: “Today Malaysia has halted our aircraft in lieu of loan repayment. Tomorrow if any airport detains the Prime Minister over non-payment of loans…what will happen?”
The opposition leader appears extremely confident as he asserts that the day is not far when the Prime Minister will be detained for non-payment of loans. “Rokenge… agar aap karze wapis nahi kange toh rokenge” (they will stop, if we do not repay loans, they will stop us), claimed Haideri in his speech in the Senate on January 18, 2021.
Calling it a matter of shame and embarrassment, he alleged that the country was taking loans but not repaying them. “If Malaysia…which is an Islamic nation…a country that is our friend… has been forced to take this action, I can confidently say that tomorrow our Prime Minister will also be detained,” he says.
PIA flight detained after Pak fails to repay loans
According to reports, the PIA aircraft was seized on the orders of a local Malaysian court over the non-payment of aircraft lease dues. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had leased two aircraft, including the Boeing-777, from a Vietnamese company in 2015. However, they had failed to pay the dues to the Vietnamese company.
Reportedly, the authorities seized the plane after passengers had already boarded the aircraft. The aircraft’s 18-member staff also become stranded in Kuala Lumpur due to the seizure and will now quarantine for 14 days as per protocols.
Pakistan and its debt trap
Pakistan has been grappling with economic woes and the situation is not likely to change anytime soon. As per reports, following the footsteps of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) might seek repayment of its $3 million debt from the Pakistani government.
Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan last year to repay its debt of $3 billion, which the Arab country provided as a financial support package to the latter in 2018. Besides the package, Saudi Arabia had also announced a credit facility of $3.2 billion for deferred oil payments. Pakistan, which had attempted to form an alliance with Malaysia and Turkey as ‘alternative Islamic powers’, had drawn the ire of Saudi Arabia.
According to the Pakistani Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Pakistan had taken a loan from China to repay a $3 billion loan taken from Saudi Arabia. A desperate Pakistan did so because had it defaulted the payment, Saudi Arabia would have reduced its financial suppo