1 dead after shots fired at Pakistani plane

PIA flight fired upon at Peshawar airport
PIA flight fired upon at Peshawar airport

Authorities in Pakistan were looking for a gunman who opened fire at a plane Tuesday evening just as it was landing in the country’s volatile northwest, killing one person and wounding two others, officials said.

Five bullets hit the plane as it was coming in to the Peshawar airport, said Dost Muhammad Khan, the station house officer in charge of the area.

A female passenger on board the plane died on the way to the hospital, said Mashood Tajwar, a spokesman for the national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines.

Two other people on board were also wounded, said Khan.

Authorities were scouring the area around the airport to find whoever is responsible, Khan said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but suspicion will likely fall on militants that the government has been fighting in the country’s northwest.

The military announced a major operation on June 15 against militants who have been using the country’s North Waziristan tribal area as a safe haven from which to launch attacks against targets in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have poured out of North Waziristan since the operation started, although so far it has mostly consisted of airstrikes against militant hideouts.

People across Pakistan have been bracing for reprisal attacks ever since the operation started.

The operation came after the Pakistani Taliban and an Uzbek militant group attacked the hospital in the southern port city of Karachi. During the audacious attack, gunmen battled with airport security and other law enforcement authorities for roughly five hours.

The mayhem at Pakistan’s largest airport shocked the country and raised questions about the security of other airports around the country.