Man on diverted flight with Lankan crew a terror suspect

A man arrested from PIA flight PK757 with a Sri Lankan crew, after it was diverted to Stansted Airport in London on Tuesday over security concerns, has been identified as Khalid Baqa, Geo News has learnt.

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane flying to Heathrow airport was forced to land at London’s Stansted Airport on Tuesday evening over security threats. Reports surfaced that a suspect was taken into custody by the British authorities and shifted to a police station.

Stansted airport spokesman had said: “The aircraft is likely to continue its journey onwards to Heathrow today pending inquiries that the police are making into the individual on the aircraft.”

The UK Ministry of Defence said that Typhoon jets had intercepted the aircraft, which had been en route to London´s Heathrow Airport, and escorted it to Stansted.

However, the identity of the suspect has now been confirmed as Khalid Baqa, who was apprehended along with his accomplices in 2012 on charges of terrorism.

In 2013, Baqa was sentenced to two years in prison in the UK. He was charged with having over 300 CDs in his possession, which had extremist material.

The CDs seized from him had sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki and beheading scenes. Apart from that, the disks had bomb-making procedures, will of one of the convicts of London blasts and his confessional statement. The CDs also had recorded scenes of the 9/11 attacks.

British police said the plane was diverted over a bomb threat. The PIA, however, said the response by British authorities was excessive. (Colombo Gazette)


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