Islamabad, Aug 27: The Pakistan government has banned VIP protocol given by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to influential people at airports across the country.
The move comes days after the new government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan banned the discretionary use of state funds and first-class air travel by officials and leaders, including the president and the prime minister, as part of its austerity drive.
We have seen that influential people used to seek assistance of FIA officials at airports who (officials) accompanied them to promptly clear their luggage," Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said.
The decision will be strictly implemented to provide equal opportunities to all travellers without any discrimination, the minister was quoted as saying by Dawn.
It had been observed that influential people were given VIP protocol at airports so that they could avoid standing in long queues and get cleared their luggage without any hustle, Chaudhry said.
"We have seen that influential people used to seek assistance of FIA officials at airports who (officials) accompanied them to promptly clear their luggage," he said.The VIP protocol was usually given to politicians, legislators, senior bureaucrats, judges, military officials and journalists.
In case any FIA official is caught giving protocol to a VIP, he would face strict action, the ministry warned in a letter sent to all zones of the agency.
According to the interior ministry, immigration counters at airports would be monitored and if any VIP was seen being given special treatment, the immigration staff and official in charge of their shift would be immediately suspended, the report said.
The ministry had also directed the FIA to not harass passengers leaving the country.