Pakistan Chief Justice and nearly 15 prominent personalities including parliamentarians today underwent some anxious moments when an engine of the flight they were in caught fire just before take-off.
The Pakistan International Airlines flight PK-308 bound for Islamabad, was ready to take off on the taxiway here when fire broke out in one of its engines causing panic and scare among the passengers which included the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and several parliamentarians and ministers.
Declaring emergency, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) cancelled the flight. Rescue teams were sent in dose out the fire and evacuate the passengers.
Federal Minister, Maula Bux Chandio told Geo News channel: "Smoke billowing out of the burning engine escaped into fuselage after they opened the emergency exit hatch.
It was suffocating in there. I saw many passengers, who were not feeling well at all, gasping for air."
Another Parliamentarian, Yousuf Talpur criticised the national airlines for using planes which were not fit and putting passengers lives at risk.
"The entry of this very aircraft we were on board is banned in Europe," he said adding that passengers remained trapped in the plane for nearly two hours.
Secretary Production, Gul Mohammad Rind, who was also among the passengers lamented PIA officials apathy at the time of crisis.
"No PIA officer bothered to console us. They seemed so indifferent to this whole ordeal. They were pathetic" Rind said.
He also added that the doors of the plane auto-locked and they could find no way out.
"The captain also locked himself up in the cockpit", Rind said.
PML-N leader Shirin Arshad was reported to have fallen sick after smoke filled the passenger area.
Famed poetess Fehmida Riaz were also aboard the same flight.
The national airlines frequently comes in for criticism for running heavy losses and outdated and under-maintained fleet