Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was frisked at New York’s John F Kennedy Airport because he was travelling in his personal capacity, a United States embassy spokesperson said in New Delhi on Thursday.
“If a head of state chooses to travel privately without a diplomatic passport, then they are travelling as a private citizen and have to go through a security screening just like you and I,” Alexander McLaren, the deputy spokesperson of the US embassy in India, told ANI.
In a video of the incident, Abbasi adjusts his red t-shirt and leaves the security check with his jacket and a trolley bag. The Pakistan prime minister was on a visit to the US to meet his ailing sister.
On Wednesday, Abbasi’s family told The Express Tribune that he had not been strip searched. “He was on a private trip so he went through the security check like all passengers,” an unidentified family member said. “He was not strip searched, that’s complete nonsense. He was on a commercial flight, so he was travelling as a normal passenger and went through normal security procedures.”