The Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Cabinet Division yesterday issued contradictory statements on whether Biman pilot Capt Fazal Mahmud was detained by immigration officials in Doha for not having his passport on him.
The national flag carrier in a statement said Capt Fazal, who flew a 787 Dreamliner to Qatar on Wednesday from Dhaka, was not detained or arrested there.
Hours after the Biman statement, the Cabinet Division in a gazette mentioned that Capt Fazal was detained at Hamad International Airport in Doha by the immigration authorities for not carrying his passport.
Capt Fazal was scheduled to fly Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina back to the country today after her tri-nation official visit.
The Cabinet Division also formed a four-member inter-ministerial committee to investigate how Capt Fazal travelled to Qatar without his passport and why immigration officials at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport failed to check him.
Contacted yesterday, Capt Fazal Mahmud said there was no question of him being detained at Hamad as he didn’t attempt to go past the immi-gration check point.
He added that he had inadvertently left for Doha without his passport.
The Biman statement signed by its General Manager (PR) Shakil Meraj said Capt Fazal flew the flight BG-125 to Doha. But after landing, he noticed that his passport was not with him.
He informed the matter to Biman station manager in Doha and contacted his Dhaka headquarters right away, it said.
He then checked into Hotel Arix inside the airport. A day later, the Biman authorities sent his passport to Doha on another flight, it added.
“After getting the passport, Capt Fazal Mahmud passed the Qatar immigration following regular procedure.”
The Biman authorities decided that he would fly back to Dhaka on June 10.
Capt Fazal is staying in Hotel Crown Plaza in Doha with other crew mem-bers
In its gazette, the Cabinet Division yesterday said a four-member body headed by Additional Secretary of Cabinet Division Nasima Begum was asked to submit its probe report to the cabinet secretary in three work days.
Civil Aviation Secretary Mohibul Haque told this correspondent that Capt Fazal Mahmud was denied entry by Qatar immigration after it was found that he had travelled without his passport.
He added that Capt Fazal’s passport was sent on a flight of Regent Air-ways yesterday.
The incident is an outcome of the pilot’s irresponsibility, the secretary said.
The ministry will take measures against the pilot and the immigration offi-cials responsible, he added.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan also said steps will be taken against the pilot after investigation.
Another four-member probe body was formed by the Security Services Di-vision, led by Additional Secretary (security and departure) of the division Azharul Haque. The committee has been directed to submit its report within seven work days, according to a gazette issued by the division.
WHAT CAPT FAZAL SAYS
“I never made such a mistake in my life. But the incident was unexpected and it happened due to an unintentional mistake,” he told this correspondent.
“The Qatar immigration authorities didn’t detain or ask me anything… as I didn’t cross the immigration check-post.”
He added that he had mistakenly left his small bag with his passport at the flight operations office at the airport.
Asked how he crossed the immigration at HSIA without his passport, Capt Fazal said the immigration officials took his finger print but they didn’t ask for his passport.
“After landing in Doha, I looked for my passport but couldn’t find my bag. Then I contacted with the station manager of Biman at the airport in Doha. I also talked with Biman’s Dhaka office. Later, my passport was sent to me.
“After getting my passport on June 6, I completed the immigration formalities at Doha airport [and went outside].”