Islamabad Airport – Harassment, Bribery and Corruption

Nadeem | | Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

As you’ve read in my previous post I had a hell of a time getting flights into and back out of Pakistan thanks to the antics of their national airline. However I want to talk about what happened to me at Islamabad Airport as I was trying to leave the country.

I arrived at the airport just before 8am. On entering the airport I went through the first security check which was a single police officer standing at the main entrance checking your passport and ticket. No problems there. Once I got through there I had to proceed to a security check performed by the Pakistan Anti Narcotics Force. I was told to place my suitcase on a table.

The ANF Officer asked me where I had travelled from, but didn’t wait for the answer he proceeded to take a knife and start stabbing my suitcase. Which at this point was still locked. I’ve been to many airports around the world and this was the first time I’d ever had anyone stabbing my suitcase, I’m not entirely sure what this was meant to prove or check for. Before I had a chance to protest though his knifed broke in half as the idiot tried to stab the front plate of my suitcase which is metal. He then told me to open the suitcase up and proceeded to rifle through all my belongings throwing things onto the floor as he did so.

My suitcase contained a load of clothes, several cricket balls which I had purchased in Kashmir as gifts for some of the kids at Local Leagues, several books and a couple of small souvenirs which were packed in a small plastic bag which also contained one of my watches. When he discovered the cricket balls he proceeded to start sniffing each of them. I wasn’t aware human beings were actually able to smell narcotics in this manner, security forces normally use sniffer dogs. Anyway he kept tossing my belongings on the floor and the table until he was satisfied at which point I had to hurriedly pack everything back into my suitcase, I took care to make sure that all the items that were on the floor/table ended up back in my suitcase. It was only when I returned to the UK and opened up my suitcase that I realised the bastard had taken the small bag containing the watch and the souvenirs I’m positive he stole it because I packed away all the items that I could see he had tossed onto the floor/table.

Anyway after he had finished with me I proceeded to the next security check. This simply involved me placing my luggage through the x-ray machine and walking through a metal detector and being frisked by a police office. No problem there. After this I proceeded to get my luggage checked in and get my boarding pass. No real problems there.

I then had to proceed to Immigration. Where there were a load of Police Officers with the letters FIA ( Federal Investigation Agency ) emblazoned on their Uniforms. When I reached the immigration desk the officer asked me for my passport and boarding pass which I duly handed over. He then asked me where I had been staying during my visit. He then stared at me and asked me if I was the individual in the picture in my passport, and I said yes! He asked me for my date of birth. Which I provided. He then told me he thought my passport was fake because it wasn’t scanning. However he hadn’t yet tried to scan it! So I just looked at him. He then asked me a question “kuch aur deso?” which in my mind I translated as “do you have any other identification you want to show me?” to which I said no that’s my passport, and it should be fine since I’ve travelled all over the world on it. He kept repeating the question, and I kept replying as I had done.

Eventually after keeping me standing there for almost 40 minutes some of the other passengers in the queue behind me got rather rowdy. Someone shouted out “just give the bastard some money, that’s what he’s asking you for!” others in the queue started hurling abuse at the officer as well as the police in general. The ruckus caused a number of other FIA officers to walk over to see what was going on. They asked their colleague what the problem was and he told them my passport was fake and wasn’t scanning. To which I responded he hasn’t tried to scan it yet. Another officer, wondered over and took the passport from his colleague and scanned it through the machine first time, handed it to me, and told me to proceed. As I walked past the officer who had held me there the best part of an hour I told him in no uncertain terms what I thought of him, which I wont repeat here.

Once I got through immigration I had to go through another frisking, and then another metal detector and being frisked once more. Once I got through all that I was able to proceed to the waiting lounge. At this point I felt really drained and quite angry. But I figured I’m through the worst of it, and looked back at the queue of people having to go through all the same security checks and actually felt sorry for them.

My visit to Kashmir left me with a very low opinion of Pakistani Police Officers – they’re all corrupt. It seems it’s impossible to travel anywhere without having to go through impromptu checkpoints set up by small groups of Pakistani police officers who aren’t checking anything just asking drivers to hand over money. They seem to target vehicles that have Kashmiri license plates (which being with letters AJK), in fact I can’t recall making a trip where our driver didn’t have to pay some police officer a bribe to let us travel around our own country which is quite depressing.

There have been wars fought by India and Pakistan over possession of Kashmir and as it stands the country is divided in two. The Indian controlled half of Kashmir is often referred to as “Indian Occupied” Kashmir, whereas the Pakistani side of Kashmir is referred to as “Azaad Kashmir” which means “Free Kashmir”, but the sad truth is that Kashmir is not a free state – not in any true sense of the word. It’s occupied by two nations, Indian and Pakistan, and both nations have committed atrocities against our people, and continue to do so. Growing up I used to fill in application forms that asked for ethnicity as “Pakistani” since it was always one of the check boxes and we were always taught that Kashmiri’s were Pakistani’s. If I learnt anything about myself on this trip its that I am of Kashmiri decent, and I’m definitely not Pakistani – its taken 29 years for me to learn the difference and that hurts.
Anyway I’m digressing, back to the airport.

I was sitting in the departure lounge waiting for the air plane to arrive. As usual it was delayed which meant sitting there for 4 hours! Whilst I was sitting there a gentleman in suit came and sat down next to me. I didn’t think anything of it until several armed police officers walked over to where I was sitting. My first reaction was “shit am I in trouble for calling that FIA guy a C…”, but it wasn’t me they were interested in. The officers walked straight up to the gentleman sitting next to me and proceeded to apologise to him for not meeting him at the entrance of the airport.

I listened to the conversation rather intently, I figured this guy must be someone really important. What I overheard, and then confirmed by talking to the gentleman at great length (i had four hours to kill) actually terrified me to the point where I wasn’t actually sure I wanted to get onto the plane. Here’s why…

The police officers had been sent by their senior officer to escort his friend “the gentleman” through airport security to the waiting lounge, and to ensure he wasn’t harassed by anyone. During the course of our conversation this gentleman went to great detail to explain what “not being harassed” meant.

When he normally travelled from Islamabad it meant he’s met out front by several officers. They take his passport and his ticket. One of the officers escorts the gentleman pass all the security checks to the waiting lounge. The others take all his luggage directly through the luggage check-in without it ever being opened or x-rayed. It’s checked in. They then take his passport and ticket and have it stamped at immigration and then take his documents up to him in the waiting lounge – he doesn’t normally go through immigration himself.

He went to great length boasting at how he doesn’t have a weight limit regardless of who he fly’s with, how on his last trip he was able to take close to 100 KG of luggage with him. I told him that must have been expensive, and he laughed and said “they don’t charge me anything … the police just load it onto the plane”. He was holding his boarding pass in his hand and I clearly see it was marked “Economy” just like mine. This meant was only entitled to 30 KG.

Why did this frighten me so much? Since 9/11 Airports around the world have been implementing more and more rigorous and some feel more draconian security measures to ensure that bombs and weapons cant be smuggled onto aircraft. As passengers we sometimes feel harassed by this or frustrated but we all like to think that hey everyone has to go through the same process and in the end it’s for our own safety – so we accept it.

At Islamabad airport though if your friends with a senior police officer none of the security checks or rules need apply to you. Your luggage isn’t even put through an x-ray machine. That scares me. It scares me a lot.

Many airlines British Airways, Emirates, US, Singapore etc. fly to and from airports in Pakistan. The pilots and cabin crew don’t work on check-in desks they rely on the local authorities to have conducted all the necessary security and safety checks to ensure no one gets a weapon or a bomb onto a plane, either in hand luggage or in the cargo hold. But if those security checks are routinely circumvented by certain people, either because its so easy to bribe officials, or because officials are happy to do favours for friends – then that puts us all in danger.

I believe that any airline that has assets travelling to and from airports in Pakistan needs to demand that something is done about this. I can tell you this – if a plane ever blows up or is hijacked after leaving an airport in Pakistan you don’t need to waste millions on exhaustive investigations to figure out how the “terrorists” got weapons or a bomb onto the plane; corruption amongst security personal at airports in Pakistan is culturally ingrained, I fear it isn’t a question of “if” it will happen. It’s a question of “when”. Unless the international community and airlines around the world do something about it. Ironically the FIA was created to combat this type of corruption and that’s the authority that handles such complaints or issues – yet I’ve seen with my own eyes how corrupt FIA officials are.

As for the important gentleman in the blue suit? I told him I thought he must be someone really important to get that kind of treatment. Turns out he’s unemployed living off benefits – he’s not a dignatory, not an official – just a nobody who happens to be the relative of a good friend of the head of police at the airport.

34 Comments »

  1. Very sorry to hear, how you have been treated, I’m glad that you became aware who you are, Kashmiris are not part of Pakistan nor India, Kashmirir is for Kashmiris.

    It wont be long when we will have our own nation with it’s own Airline and the airports within Kashmir.

    Najib Afsar

    Comment by Najib Afsar — March 20, 2007 @ 2:18 pm

  2. You might have suffered o Islamabad airport as authorities are not well educated / trained there but I am arguing your comments on Pakistani / Kashmiri. Then comments from Najib Afsar. Just goto India and see suffering of Kashmiris by Indian Army and Police then come back to Pakistani Kashmir and compare it for yourself. You will see why this side is called AZAD Kashmir. I know some people after settling in the UK have turned against Pakistan to form a party or get sympathy of certain people. In India women are raped on daily basis, people are killed on daily basis, just show me even a single incident in Pakistani Kashmir. Even Kashmiris have freedom to settle in Pakistan travel via Pakistan given Pakistani passports, Indian refugees come to Pakistan to protect themselves, what else you want?
    Open your eyes and side with the truth…

    Comment by Azmet — March 23, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

  3. Azmet,
    I’ve never been to Indian occupied Kashmir. But I stand by my comments, what your in effect saying is that things in Azad Kashmir “are not” as bad as things in Indian Occupied Kashmir. What I’m saying is that the treatment of Kashmiri’s by Pakistani authorities, as I’ve born witness to myself, is reprehensible.

    What happened at the airport is symptomatic of the inherent corruption within Pakistan, have you ever tried travelling from kashmir into pakistan with an “AJK” license plate? Count the number of times you have to pull over and hand money over at gunpoint to Pakistani police officers.

    I have no doubt that the situation in indian occupied areas is far worse. But injustice of any form is still injustice.

    Comment by nadeem.shabir — March 23, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

  4. I am very shocked at what pakistan is like as a country. It is not a case of being right or wrong, but which influencail people you know or how rich you are. There is so much corruption in that counry. we need to do something about this. my fahter was arrested and jailed for fighting to get hos own land back, beause the other party paid the judge 13000 pounds . why is this happenong today. He told me that there are women and children in jails innocent.
    we need to do something fast

    Comment by nasreen — April 4, 2007 @ 8:38 pm

  5. hi,i know what you went through ,i went through the same when leaving islamabad,but heres a few things to remember for everyone, if they ask for money,make a scene,speak louder so everyone can hear,ask them what they want the money for ,they usualy say “jarmana” meaning fine for bringing certain items which they found in your bag,tell them they cant charge customs tax on goods leaving the country ! ,ask them for written paperwork, it might sound stupid to say but ,iv said it and its the right way to go about it,it shows them you know what your talking about and you know what they can and cant do,people who pay up are the ones who are ill informed and dont know alot about customs and regualtions, dont be scared of them,keep your eyes on your luggage,some times instead of taking things from your bag they may plant things in your bag to get you arrested.if all else fails just say you havnt any money !,

    another thing you could do is get one of the guys outside the airport called a “kully” porter ,and pay him for taking you through,it will save time and then at least your paying someone who earns a living by taking your luggage through checkpoints.

    happy traveling, and stand up to these security people,pakistan as a whole is a corrupt country.

    Comment by yousaf — June 29, 2007 @ 1:13 am

  6. Salaam bro, I agree with you on the point of the police and all the goverment offices. Who is going to change it as all of us are over here and the remaining public there does not know their rights or have the education to oppose this. What we need is change from the top as it starts from the top.

    May Allah Help us all and help to improve our country.

    Comment by shakeel — July 23, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

  7. salaam bro,im so sorry to hear wt happened to u.I feel disgusted with the way police officers treat u.All i can say is that pakistan as a whole is a corrupted country.You are out there to enjoy urself and ppl like that go and spoil it.I havent been back since 1990 only bcoz i jst cnt be bothered with the hassle of wt u went thru.Im the kind of person who cnt keep my mouth shut at ppl doing wrong.2 wrongs dnt make a right.id rather stay at home where i feel safe instead of bein locked up in a jail in pakistan for speaking the truth,lol.us muslims are out ere earning a living,y must we go and pay ppl like dat for just visiting our own country.now dnt ask me wt im writing coz im proper pd off.tc

    Comment by safah — July 31, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

  8. Salaam,
    Brother when you say you were only targeted because you were kashmiri is nonsense I have been through Islamabad airport frequently. I am British born I have also had problems with customs and the rest of the idiots even turning physical on one ocassion so please don’t say you were targeted you weren’t it is natural because Pakistani’s are hungry dogs and you were the food for the day.

    Comment by Awan — August 24, 2007 @ 2:39 am

  9. They are nasty and horrid , they took my freind of a departing airline and asked for 50000 rps .

    Where is the justice minister where are the correct officials , this cannot be allowed to carry on something needs to be done.?

    Comment by Abbas — March 23, 2008 @ 11:26 am

  10. Airport corruption, when will it stop?…

    That there is still corruption at airports can be so tiresome, Below two stories that happened which just make me think, All these security rules, fare rules and conditions we have to go through before a passenger can actually fly.
    IATA and governments…

    Trackback by Ticketing Strategies Blog — April 6, 2008 @ 7:14 am

  11. I was coming back with me bro in islamabad and they officer said to a british born guy with his pakistani wife this wedding certificate is fake, ( Dont ask me why it reached to that), so i continued to hear this c*nt, he told the guy that you can buy this paper work from the streets and the guy just said fcuk you and go and buy it then. the officer said stop speaking english and realised the look of disgust on my face and waved the couple over. when i arrived to the desk he just said to me that that guy was speaking english like he only knows english, i didnt remark and he just gave me my passport back. When i arrived pakistan earlier there was a row going on at the security point where they were asking the guy to give money he refused and the officers were publicily swearing at the customer and saying you wait till u reach the xrays we are going to open ur lugguage up. the customer replied please please leave me and my familly alone we are here for a funeral not for holiday. by that time i once again intervened and others too and the officers just split up. Heres a trick i tried in islamabad i made the kully ( Porter) take all my bags and showed him 20 quid from my wallet he was happy and took my gear all the way through to my familly car and i just sat in the van and let my mammo give him some rupee. he he he the look on his face PRICELESS CROOKS

    Comment by Ajaz — April 18, 2008 @ 5:37 pm

  12. Welcome to Pakistani culture, I sat once with the security staff and they actualy admited that ‘ we are jealous of “these english pakistanis, they should give us money anyway because we are poor compared to them, it is our right – if they dont give us money, our right – then we will take our right (haq) from them, so thats there mentality – just speak in english – take there name and threaten to report them, these are just hungry dogs, They are looking for the typical polite englishman – you have to be rude and shout – thats the only way

    Comment by Ali Khan — July 16, 2008 @ 1:39 pm

  13. Its wrong but it is the system in the whole of Pakistan, you have to be clever and just imagine that everyone including your relatives are trying to rip you off, beleive me I wanted to by a leather jacket, the guy wanted 3000 rupees, after bargaining I got it down to 9000, well with a bit of help from my cousin,so the cusrom guys are out to make more money and probably have a competition with eachother, even the women are at it.
    When you go to big citys beware of the hotel scam you’ll be unpacking and 2 women will come into your room and say somthing like ‘ leaving already?’ full well knowing you’ve just arrived they’ll walk in and if youre stupid enough to pay them for services, well then youre had cos while you are ‘doing it’ the cops will raid your room and threaten to arrest you and put you in prison for 5 years for aiding and abetting corruption or vice, the you will have to pay them everything you have, you are at there mercy after that, you see the porter,the women,and the cops all play there part in the scam.

    Comment by Ali Majad — August 13, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

  14. People from the UK and many other countries do not wish to travel to Pakistan anymore due to the increased kidnapping rate, the ususal ransom is about £200000, or $400000 (2 karol) – its sick that people cant even visit there own family without worrying about kidnappings, pakistan is in a big mess, while India are building nuclear power stations to meet the demand, Pakistan still relies on the old water damn system, electricity switches off every 2 hours, the corrupt MP’S only care about lining there pockets and building there palaces, anyway the prophet pbuh said ” the leader of the nation will reflect the people” so people are bad, so will the laders be,.

    Comment by Jamshed Ali — August 22, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

  15. its nothing to do with just kashmiris they are all corrupt there and they just bother every passenger just to make some money for their hells,
    my friends was offloaded last night by them they were just strugling for some dollars nothing else , he had every thing okkey,

    i will just say all are courrepted there do be raciest it with every one,
    dont be biased

    Comment by Ashiz — December 4, 2008 @ 6:22 am

  16. Salam,
    It sounds too late to leave a comment on it; though the story is old yet the issue still afresh. I and every human would sympathise with what happened to our bro and still happens to the visitors to Pakistan be them pakistanis or other nationals. Corruption in Pakistan is appallingly common specially with police and customs. I haven’t words to express the pain i feel for the blemish it leaves on the entire nation since the immigration and security agencies are the first point of contact for visitors to pakistan. And unfortunately an overwhelming percentage of travellers in or out suffer the same anguish.
    One thing which I’d like to highlight is the Kashmiri/Pakistani dichotomy. A couple of friends left some positive comments. All I want to say is that the Kashmiri and people from other regions of Pakistan are victims of corruption all alike. I bet you can’t bring a single case of discrimination against Kashmiris at the airport. Other Pakistanis suffer the same corruption and wrong treatment by the corrupt officers. Yes, it is very plausible that visitors from UK are more vulnerable as they can be cherry-picked for more money. I’ve been traveling to Kashmir for more than 10 years to spend summer holidays and always traveled in AJK reg vehicles. Not a single incident of taking bribery occured when they went through check posts. What I understand is that police may target AJK plate cars which they think has come from Mirpur side areas where a large population is linked to UK and is wealthy. They’d do the same to anyone who they think is wealthy. Thus they r prone to be victimised for more money and not at all for their ethnicity.
    I’d discourage and would request all my Pakistani brothers/sisters to oppose any idea that may cause any rift or division between Kashmiri or non-kashmiri Pakistanis. I wonder who’s given the idea that Kashmir is occupied by Pakistan. They’re deliberately made ignorant of the fact that people from Sarhad (NWFP) including large no of tribal Pathans fought for Kashmir and laid their lives to freed this region. I’ve personally visited places where they got martyred in Kashmir and met few of the old lot who actually participated in the fight against India for freedom. It was the great love between Pakistani and Kashmiri people, the love of a Muslim toward other Muslim that led them to fight together. Where the hell have they brought this Kashmiri and Pakistani classification for hatred now, I can’t make sense. To this day the army that defends all boundaries across Kashmir is not made of Kashmiris solely. They’re standing shoulder to shoulder with men from all parts of Pakistan. And similarly our Kashmiri brothers stand to protect Pakistani soil on various fronts. For Goodness sake stop preaching hatred. We’ve already lost our other half in 1971 only because of few preachers of hatred and we at no cost would allow another division. We’re all Muslims and should live brotherly.
    And lastly the solution to corruption is not to be victim and let it go, stand against it. It’s a fashion to hand over bribe to any tom dick n harry without realising that Holy Prophet (SAW) said in clear words: “That who takes bribery or gives bribery are both bound to go to hell.” This is how to put an end to a wrong deed not by sharing hands in it.

    Comment by Ali — June 19, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  17. How can you not bribe the airport guys? they will hold you up and delay you until your plane flies off, if you willingly give bribary for example to a public officer to get some work done etc then that bad, but when you are forced to that is a different thing – thats robbery and you cant refuse a robber for money, as I am sure there is a hadith that states you shouldnt put yourself in unnesecary harm and trouble, I say again – these are not bribes it is daylight robbery they have no gun but there weapon is the airport customs badge.Anyway I heard they get you now when you are coming into pak now whereas before it was only when you are leaving, but seems they have doubled there harrassment profiteering efforts.Welcome to Pakistan.

    Comment by Ajmal — January 16, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

  18. How can you not bribe the airport guys? they will hold you up and delay you until your plane flies off, if you willingly give bribary for example to a public officer to get some work done etc then that bad, but when you are forced to that is a different thing – thats robbery and you cant refuse a robber for money, as I am sure there is a hadith that states you shouldnt put yourself in unnesecary harm and trouble, I say again – these are not bribes it is daylight robbery they have no gun but there weapon is the airport customs badge.Anyway I heard they get you now when you are coming into pak now whereas before it was only when you are leaving, but seems they have doubled there harrassment profiteering efforts.Welcome to Pakistan..

    Comment by Ajmal — January 16, 2010 @ 5:53 pm

  19. Salaam brothers, cant believe people are still going through the harassment of the airport officials.i left a comment here in 2007,Am planning on going to pakistan soon, but if i see or experience any corruption this time round, i will be taking it up with the FIA corruption wing, lets hope they are not corrupt.Something needs to be done about this, They will carry on untill someone speaks out.As a community and group anything can be achieved

    ” a snow flake one of the most delicate creations of god but together look at what they can do”

    Comment by yousaf — May 26, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

  20. Well you don’t have to be Kashmiri or anything else , All you have to do is arrive at the Islamabad Airport and see what happens .
    last in in June of 2010 i went to Pakistan i arrived at the airport and was told to get my luggage and come to the customs department (which didn’t even exist) anyway i asked why ? Then he told Bhai hamara bhi kuch karo na ( take care of us ) i was like okey ……..How much would you want ?
    he said minimum $20 or he won’t let me go and make me stay an other 4 hours While my parents are waiting outside for me .
    so finally i ended up paying $39 altogether . and THIS IS PAKISTAN
    Indians do have corruption but i bet not at the airports .
    EVERYONE OF THEM IS FILTHY DOG AT THE ISB AIRPORT MAY ALLAH DAMN THEM.

    Comment by M Khan — July 1, 2011 @ 6:15 am

  21. I just arrived after weeks holiday in the northern pakistan on arrivell and departure was ask for money by customes official in publice view ,for not search my luggauge that the last thing you want on arrivel and departure.

    Comment by lalkhan — October 27, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  22. AOA FRIENDS
    I USE ISLAMABAD AIRPORT AFTER EVERY 2 WEEKS
    BUT MY DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL GATE IS VVIP LOUNGE
    NOW I READ UR COMMENTS INSHALLHA AFTER 1 MONTH NO ONE WILL ASK U FOR MONEY

    Comment by khan — December 27, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

  23. Before Butto it was very bad, when she came she fixed the corruption, but now it has gone bad again.Welcome to the Paak? istan.

    Comment by Jameel — January 1, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  24. Fucking pakistani customs employees at islamabad airport. Fuck you all basterds

    Comment by Faisi — March 11, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

  25. i travelled thru islamabad airport on 18/04/2012 on the way back to UK. After the Anti Narcotic Force frisked thru my luggage the customs (Bastards in white uniform) asked me to open my suitcase. I asked him for the reason & the reply was “How many cigarettes you have” I told him that i do not smoke & i do not have any cigarettes. He said that UK Govt is presurising them to stop peopletaking so many cigarettes to the UK. That really made me laugh and i told him in a nice language that “Mate first of all im not carrying any fags at all, if some people do take cigarettes then they have paid all the duties on them cigarettes in Pakistan”. I have travelled thru islamabad 3 times in the last 2 years & know that upstairs in the waiting lounge at the shops you can buy as many cigarettes as you want. The 200 cigarette case of Gold Leaf costs you 1200 rupees in the waiting lounge compared to 700 Rupees in the shops in pakistan. So the difference is 500 Rupees. Its this 500 Rupees difference that is shared by all this corrupt bastards. Also naive people pay bribes in thousands to these customs so that they would let them take these. Zardari ne saray Pakistani ko bekari bana diya hai.

    Comment by fame ali — April 25, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  26. Salaam, I travelled to Islamabad airport on 25/03/12 with 16 members of the family including our young children and my nephew who was only 9months for my brothers wedding. We were all so excited when we left Manchester airport but it was short lived as soon as we got to Islamabad airport. We had to wait In imaggration qeues for an hour then wait another hour an half for our luggage then were harassed by custom officers to have our luggage checked as though it wasn’t checked at high levels of security at Manchester my older sister who had travelled there on number of occasions told us who evers luggage comes don’t wait for each other just get out as me and some of my cousins ignored the custom officer the got hold of my cousin brother whom had to bull shit to them to get out of paying them rishwat. Then when 20 not including the children with them of my family and cousins went through the airport again on departing the country on 22/4/12 they were to go through even bigger hell. They were surrounded by custom officers like flies to have they luggage opened and were told by custom officers if they didn’t want they luggage opening to pay them £500 as my family refused to pay they were searched as some kind if drug smugglers and they 20 sleeves of cigarettes were taken out when you’re allowed to bring 1 sleeve per passenger when my family asked if they could go and return the cigarettes outside to the waiting family they were refused it was only because they didn’t get the £500 as I was still in Pakistan for another few days I asked to make a complaint but was sent around like a yo yo without getting anywhere. When i travelled back a few days later with my brother we had to give the corrupt guy at the weighing desk 4000 rupees because he was saying our luggage was weighing over when i had checked the weight of each item before i left home but because i didnt get anywhere two days earlier on complaning as they all the same corrupt people working there i didnt have the energy to argue i just gave the dog his bone or eles me and my brother would have been delayed and still would have had to give the dog a bone When you have a corrupt prime minster like zardari what do you aspect of the rest. We only keep going back to Pakistan because our parents roots are from there let our children grow up they won’t even step a foot in the corrupt country. Am glad me and my family are back to where we belong a country who at least have laws. May Allah save Pakistan.

    Comment by Hussain — May 10, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

  27. I know how you feel, i travel to Pakistan every year from January 1st to whatever date I have planned to return….the first thing that the immigration officers ask me is what part of Pakistan am i from? and if i state “Kashmir” , he/she would respond by placing he’s or hers left hand and shamelessly ask for money…..

    13/01/2012 my flight back to U.K the supervisor of Islamabad airport would not let me board the plane and specified i had to give him 5000rps as i was late, but i could clearly see that the u.k flight was still boarding and people were still queuing to get their luggage weighed…….i had to beg the supervisor in front of my wife and my mother which was so down grading… being a site manager i would never ever let my staff go through such a gruelling process….

    may Allah help Pakistan
    , there is no law an order in Islamabad airport everyone in there is he’s own boss, but please do not let them put you off……Pakistan is a beautiful country but unfortunately ruled by mindless idiots…

    Comment by Abbass Akhtar — June 14, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  28. salam
    100% agree that every single worker at islamabad airport is a bastard,and will create every possible hurdle for passengers.

    Comment by ehsan — October 14, 2012 @ 9:58 pm

  29. I went Pakistan in December 2011 and I was hassled arriving and departing from Islamabad airport
    My experience was similar to the ones mentioned above and I can proudly say I’m not a pakistani. Pakistan is a backwards country and whilst tourism from uk would have helped their economy, now after their antics they are losing or already lost tourim from the uk. Those prics are short termist and will rot as they so rightly deserve. Kidnapping, looting, harassing for money…. Yea we so see the appeal in visiting that place

    Comment by Kamran — December 19, 2012 @ 2:35 am

  30. “AOA FRIENDS
    I USE ISLAMABAD AIRPORT AFTER EVERY 2 WEEKS
    BUT MY DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL GATE IS VVIP LOUNGE
    NOW I READ UR COMMENTS INSHALLHA AFTER 1 MONTH NO ONE WILL ASK U FOR MONEY

    Comment by khan — December 27, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

    please please please we already have toooooooooooooo many like u in pakistan “true manafaks”

    Comment by zulfi — January 23, 2013 @ 1:38 am

  31. i have only come back very recently n its still the same. i did travel when Mashraf was in power it was much better then. hash bt true paki’s latoon ky Boht batoon se ni manty! thank Allaha s.w.t k we British Citizens are among humen beings.

    i always argue k pehly Insaan phir Muslman! Allaha G khud Pakistan ko bachaye rakhen! Amin!
    its a country of joy! dont be afraid of the pigs just keep going back guys “i love pakistan”

    Comment by zulfi — January 23, 2013 @ 1:51 am

  32. Hi,
    After reading all the above comments all i will say to you dont give in dont give them a single pound or or one rupee.you have british passport you have all the documents they try to intimidate you and see if you would give in and give them some money just start shouting if you thing they are abusing their authority ans you will soon be told to go as they dont like to see people making a big fuss…
    Stay cool and look into their eyes and tell them to f……k. Offfffff

    Comment by Khan — November 5, 2013 @ 3:15 am

  33. Very nice that you became aware who you are, Kashmiris are not part of Pakistan nor India, Kashmirir is for Kashmiris.

    It wont be long when we will have our own nation with it’s own Airline and the airports within Kashmir.Here i want to share what happened with my cousin while coming to UAE regarding the corrupt Immigration personals at IslamAbad Airport,

    I was scheduled today to depart for DXB, At the Immigration desk I showed them my Passport and travel documents i.e Visit Visa but they refused and forcefully deny my departure without any valid reason. I showed them even my brother in-law Passport along with UAE residency but they said that what is the reason you want to go UAE . Is there any law like this to deny boarding?

    Comment by Naeem Ahmed — January 12, 2014 @ 9:06 am

  34. There is rampant corruption at the major Pakistani airports by FIA and Anti-Narcotic staff who shamelessly and openly ask for bribe from departing passengers. I had a chance to travel few times from Lahore Airport in the recent past and had witnessed that these officials would not let any one go without getting their palms greased. In my case, after the bags were scanned, a FIA official sporting handle bar moustache approached me and asked me about the contents of my bags, raised objection on my one month’s insulin dose and other diabetic medication saying that, I need clearance from ministry of health to carry such medication. Finally, asked for Rs. 500 to let me go. There were other passengers going through a similar ordeal and were only allowed to leave upon payment of bribe money. Even women with minor chidren were not spared.

    Under the prevailing circumtances, FIA and anti-narcotic staff at the airport serves no purpose. Due to their conduct and with their connivance, any amount of money, drugs and other banned items can leave Pakistan’s frontiers just by having the right connections and the right deal made with the relevant officials. I urge Honorable Minister of Interior to look closely into this and apply some counter measures to deal with this menace.

    Comment by Tanweer Abbas — January 13, 2014 @ 7:19 pm

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