pakistani officials leave in protest after airport interrogation

Just caught up on this news... Last week, a delegation of senior Pakistani military officials visiting the United States for a major defense conference headed home in protest after they said they were interrogated and rudely treated by security officials at Dulles International Airport: Pakistani officials leaving in protest.

The trouble started when one of the delegates, after a long, weary day of traveling, made a comment something to the effect of "I hope this is my last flight." This apparently spooked a flight attendant, who got the delegation pulled off the plane:
The nine-member group of high-ranking Pakistani officers boarded United Airlines Flight 727 from Washington to Tampa late Sunday but were pulled off the plane after one of them "made a comment to a flight attendant," said Mike Trevino, a United spokesman.

United did not provide details, but Pakistani officials said the remark came from a general in the delegation who - weary of a long day of travel that began in Islamabad - said, "I hope this is my last flight," or words to that effect.

That sparked a call to Dulles law enforcement officials, who detained the delegation for 2.5 hours and refused to allow the officials to contact their embassy or the U.S. military officials who had invited them to visit, according to a Pakistani military official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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.
Unfortunately, we live in an age where a simple, innocuous comment like that can get you yanked from your flight. However, I can't imagine anyone giving a second glance if the statement came from an elderly Caucasian passenger. But coming from a brown man, traveling with a big group of brown men? Better call security.

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