September 9, 1999 

The Financial Times

A cargo airline yesterday said it had suspended flights to Pakistan after the 
 pilots of one of its aircraft reported seeing a mysterious "flash and 
 explosion" shortly after taking off from the Karachi airport several days 
 ago. Lufthansa Cargo India ... filed a complaint to India's Director - 
 General of Civil Aviation saying the pilots .... saw the bright flash of an 
 apparent explosion at around 2:30 am local time on Monday about five miles 
 from the Karachi airport.  According to the complaint, Lufthansa officials 
 speculated that it could have been a missile explosion.  Just before the 
 blast, ... the Karachi air traffic control directed the aircraft to turn 
 right. As the aircraft turned and crossed an altitude of 3,000 feet, the 
 pilots saw the bright flash near the aircraft on their left side.  India's 
 Director - General of Civil Aviation said ... the explosion "appeared to have 
 narrowly missed the aircraft" and "brightly" lit up the cockpit. The 
 statement said it seemed to the light crew the flash had "a trajectory coming 
 from the ground".  The Lufthansa crew reported the incident to the Karachi 
 radar tower, and two other incoming aircraft - a Pakistan International 
 Airlines flight and a private Pakistani carrier - reportedly confirmed seeing 
 the explosion.