RAWALPINDI (News Desk): Three Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights to Gilgit and Skardu from Islamabad were cancelled on Monday after the Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (Palpa) refused to operate any flight due to coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOP) being ignored and two pilots and a member of cabin crew testing positive for Covid-19. In a letter to its members, Palpa said safety was compromised and coronavirus-related SOPs ignored on recently operated humanitarian flights. Palpa General Secretary Imran Narejo told Dawn: “Our strike is continuing. No measures have been taken by the management regarding the safety of pilots and other crew members as three pilots and three cabin crew members have been affected by the virus.” He said Palpa would not compromise on the safety of its members in any circumstances. The association decided to halt flight operations after four crew members of a special PIA flight were placed in isolation by Sindh health authorities upon their arrival in Karachi from Toronto on Sunday. PIA flights PK-605 and PK-607 for Gilgit and PK-451 for Skardu were cancelled, but two special flights scheduled to arrive from Birmingham and Uzbekistan carrying more than 250 stranded Pakistanis landed at at IIA on Monday. PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez told Dawn that efforts were underway to keep flight operations ongoing without any halts. He said negotiations are being held with Palpa to resolve the issue, although the PIA took all safety measures for staff and passengers. According to the Aviation Division, after the closure of flight operation Civil Aviation Authority staff disinfected Gilgit airport with chlorinated water. Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) pilots refused to bring back stranded Pakistanis from Iraq on Tuesday after two pilots and an air hostess of the flag carrier tested positive for coronavirus. PK-9813, travelling from Islamabad to Baghdad, was to fly back 161 Pakistanis who gathered at the Baghdad airport from various Iraqi cities. The flight was supposed to leave for Baghdad at 5am on Tuesday morning, but was still to depart as of 12:00 noon. pilots reportedly did not arrive at the airport despite the PIA CEO’s and other officials assurance regarding provision of protective gear. The refusal came following an ongoing standoff between the PIA and the Pakistan Air Line Pilots’ Association (Palpa) after the three crewmembers contracted the virus. They were onboard the recent special flight operated to bring back stranded Pakistanis from Canada. The association has also protested the non-provision of safety equipment to the carrier’s crew by the PIA. Earlier this month, hundreds of Pakistani citizens including students stranded in Turkey awaited the government’s flight plan approval to return home amid a flight ban till April 11, according to official sources. PIA General Manager Public Affairs Abdullah Khan said the national flag carrier submits a flight plan for approval from the government on a daily basis and Turkey is on the list of countries that will receive special flights for bringing back stranded individuals. “We have brought back 8,000 people from Saudi Arabia and 194 passengers from Turkey.” Khan revealed that the plane crew is tested medically, given N95 masks and protective gear before boarding these special flights and are quarantined for six weeks if they get off the plane.