Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has withdrawn its decision to enforce mandatory plastic wrapping of check-in baggage at airports across the country.

The decision has been taken after the policy attracted fierce criticism from passengers, environmentalists, and politicians.

At the time of announcing the new policy on 20 July, CAA Director-General Shahrukh Nusrat said that wrapping baggage was now mandatory and that it was being done for ‘safety’ purposes.

The notification said that all baggage must be wrapped with a plastic sheet at the initial stage of scanning by the Airports Security Force (ASF), Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), and customs.

The CAA reportedly said that the aviation authority had taken the decision to increase compliance level with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Passengers criticised the rule, claiming it would harm the environment, while there were also allegations that the decision was introduced to enrich the firm selected to provide the wrapping services.

The contract for wrapping services was awarded to Air Ciro by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority.

After a severe backlash, CAA issued a notification stating: “The letter under reference is to be treated as cancelled ab initio with immediate effect. Any correspondence made in furtherance of the referred latter is also required to be cancelled.

“Compliance with regard to the above instructions is to be ensured with immediate effect.”

Airports at Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan, Faisalabad, and Sukkur have been informed of the rule change.