Islamabad: Pakistan's national flag carrier has suspended flights to Bangladesh after a row over expulsion of one of its senior officials from Dhaka for allegedly smuggling fake currency, officials said today.
The decision was taken after the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Station Manager Ali Abbass was held by the Bangladeshi security forces and then deported to Pakistan on the suspicion of smuggling fake currency.
Several raids have also been conducted on the houses of PIA officials on suspicion of smuggling fake currency.
Pakistan rejected the charges and Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam yesterday said that they were seeking clarification from the government of Bangladesh.
A PIA official told PTI that due to harassment of passengers and officials, it was decided to suspended flights to Bangladesh till March 10.
"We have suspended flight operations from today," he said. "We will review the situation and decide whether to resume flights after March 10."
The official also claimed that Bangladeshi intelligence have been harassing PIA officials for the past two months.
"PIA flight PK-266 was delayed for three hours for security checks on Thursday," he said.
The Pakistan government has asked the Bangladesh government to clarify the harassment of the staff of Pakistan International Airlines in Dhaka.
"Our High Commission in Dhaka has taken up the matter with the Bangladesh Foreign Office. We await their explanation and response. This indeed is an unfortunate development," Aslam said.
Bangladesh had last month expelled one of the Pakistani diplomats on allegations of being involved in terrorist financing and currency forgery.
The ties between Pakistan and Bangladesh have been low since the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took over.
The tension increased after the government sentenced several politicians for allegedly siding with Pakistan during the war of 1971.
Pakistan has criticised the government of Bangladesh for racking up the past.