South Asia

Pakistan not hiding missing Malaysian jet: official

Candles are lit next to messages as students express hope and solidarity for the passengers aboard the missing Malaysian Airlines plane on March 13, 2014 in Manila, Philippines.  

The Pakistan government has denied media reports that said the missing Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines jetliner, with 239 passenegers and crew on board, might be hidden somewhere in Pakistan.

Shujaat Azeem, special aviation assistant to the Pakistan prime minister, said the flight disappeared very far off from Pakistan, was never visible on the country’s radars, and hence there was no chance Pakistan was hiding it, The Nation reported.

Meanwhile, the main Malaysian opposition party, People’s Justice Party (PKR), on Sunday dismissed a report which claimed that Zaharie Ahmad, the captain of the Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing on March 8, is a “political fanatic”.

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil described the report of the British newspaper the Daily Mail as “wild allegations”, Xinhua reported.

“If there is any concrete data backing up an allegation, we will respond to it. If anyone aboard (the flight) chose to attend the Anwar trial that is their right as it was in open court,” he told English newspaper the Malaysian Star.

The Daily Mail report said that Ahmad commanded the flight several hours after he had attended the sodomy trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Friday.

Ibrahim was jailed for five years last Friday but was released on bail.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 with 239 passengers and crew on board vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur early morning on March 8. The Boeing 777-200ER was initially presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea.

The plane lost contact along with its radar signal when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Asked if Zaharie Ahmad was often seen at functions organised by PKR or the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance), he said he didn’t not know Ahmad personally.

“I did not know who he was until the news broke out about the plane last Saturday,” said Mr. Fahmi.

PKR vice president N. Surendran said there “is not a drop of evidence to support such speculation”.

“Let us be fair to the missing captain as well - he cannot answer for himself,” he said.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 3:39:48 AM |

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