United Airlines threw nine high-ranking Pakistani military officers off a Washington-Tampa flight on Sunday and turned them over to Dulles security, who detained and grilled the men. The officers were on a junket in the USA, and had been travelling extensively; one of them said words to the effect of, "I hope this is my last flight." This was interpreted as a terrorist threat by a flight attendant. Dulles security did not let the men contact their embassy or the US military officials who were hosting them.
The Pakistanis were finally released after police at Dulles determined they did not pose a threat. But instead of proceeding to Tampa, the delegation was ordered to return to Pakistan by their military superiors in Islamabad, in protest of their treatment, the Pakistani official said, adding that they were "verbally abused." The group of officers spent the next 48 hours in Washington, waiting for the next available flight home, and were scheduled to depart the United States on Tuesday evening.
Pakistani officials leaving in protest
The Pakistani officers were originally en route to U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa to attend the annual conference of the U.S.-Pakistan Military Consultative Committee, said Maj. David Nevers, a Central Command spokesman. He said Centcom officials hoped to reschedule the conference.
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