Emergency landing: Pakistani dailies laud lack of stuffy protocol

July 12th, 2012 - 12:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, July 12 (IANS) The emergency landing of an Air India plane in Nawabshah was handed professionally by India and Pakistan and indicated progress in the relations between the neighbours, prominent Pakistani newspapers said Thursday.

The emergency landing of an Air India plane in Nawabshah was “accomplished with a minimum of fuss and stuffy protocol”, said The News International while Dawn said the incident pointed to “some progress” in the ties between the two countries.

The News International Thursday said in an editorial that the incident has generated a positive response on both sides of the border. “Problems with an aircraft in midflight require fast decisions rather than protracted diplomacy.

“Pakistan air traffic controllers gave immediate permission to land, the foreign and interior ministries were roused from their beds, the Indian High Commission was alerted and permission was equally swiftly given for a relief flight and Indian engineers to come in and fix the problem. All this was accomplished with a minimum of fuss and stuffy protocol,” it said.

The daily said the stranded passengers were offered use of the facilities at Nawabshah.

“The engineers in the relief plane had reportedly left behind their ‘Shell’ card which would allow them to pay for a tank refill - so we gave them a refill gratis and engineers from the Pakistan CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) helped them fix the problem. It was all over in less than 24 hours,” said the editorial.

It observed that there was “an air of faint surprise that Pakistan and India could cooperate when circumstances demanded it. Such circumstances are covered by international protocols regarding air safety, and we followed them to the letter”.

“The speedy and satisfactory resolution to the incident lay in good person-to-person communication, professionalism on both sides and a ‘can-do’ attitude that smoothed the path throughout. An object lesson in how to do it right,” said the daily.

An editorial in the Dawn said the emergency landing Monday “does signify some progress in Pakistan-India relations over time”.

“That the flight which had developed faults midair while flying from Abu Dhabi to New Delhi was able to land in Pakistani territory at all is an important landmark. On the other hand, the 130 passengers and crew who spent 13 hours inside the plane in Nawabshah can be viewed as a metaphor for the millions who find themselves caught between the governments in Delhi and Islamabad that are tediously slow when it comes to improving ties,” it added.

Saying that the “accidental guests could have acted as better-equipped agents of normalisation had they been allowed to experience Pakistani hospitality firsthand”, the daily rued that they were made to spend 13 hours inside the parked aircraft.

However, this ‘pleasant’ stopover has to be marked somehow and it “would be great though if the Pakistani government could sent some 130 gifts to the Air India passengers and crew as souvenirs of their memorable stay in Nawabshah”.

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