THE brother of one of two Pendle men charged with endangering passengers' lives on a plane from Pakistan has spoken of his family’s shock.
Tayyab Subhani, 30, from Brierfield, and Mohammed Safdar, 41, from Nelson, will appear in court today after the plane travelling from Lahore to Manchester was diverted to Stansted Airport.
Police boarded the Pakistan International Airlines flight PK709 which landed after an RAF Typhoon jet escorted the Boeing 777 over the UK.
Essex Police said they had been notified of threats made to the safety of passengers on Friday.
The two men will appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court today.
Subhani's brother said the whole family had been left distressed by the allegations.
The 32-year-old said: “I just cannot believe it.
“It is shocking that a person who works in Morrisons and has done so much for the community could be linked to this.
“My brother works really hard and we do a community gathering every Thursday in the community centre in Brierfield.
“People come from all over for a spiritual gathering trying to get youths off the street.
“That is the way of love, peace and unity.
“We want to get our youths together to help them and make them good people and good citizens.”
Subhani works in Morrisons in Nelson and also for a taxi firm in Burnley.
The 30-year-old lives with his wife and mother at their home in Townley Street, Brierfield.
His brother said he had been to Pakistan with his friend Mohammed Safdar, 41, of Hallam Crescent, in the Barkerhouse Road area of Nelson, to support him after the death of his mother.
He said: “They went to bury her.
“Tayyab is just a normal working class person.
“I don’t know what happened on the plane.
“He has rung and all he is saying is ‘don’t worry’.
“We are going to go down to London to court to support him.
“You cannot blame the government for what they have done because they have to protect the country.
“But this is our country too, we live here and if we had to, we would fight for our country.
“We are British citizens and we love this country.”
Subhani was named locally as being connected to Millennium Taxis but a spokesperson for the firm said: “We know him, but he doesn’t work here.”
Safdar, who lives with his wife and three children, is also a community volunteer.
The 41-year-old runs a class for young people on religious meditation at Brierfield Community Centre.
One neighbour in Hallam Crescent said the family had only moved in about two months ago.
She said: “I am shocked somebody nearby has been linked with this.
“He lives with his wife and three children.
“I have not had much contact with him, we just say 'hello' when we pass and that is it.
“I came past one day and he waved to me when I was in the garden.
“He is quite friendly really."
Armed officers entered the plane shortly after it landed and arrested two men. The remaining passengers disembarked the plane under police escort.
Superintendent Darrin Tomkins, of Essex Police, said officers were notified at 1.20pm on Friday of threats made to the safety of passengers aboard the Boeing 777.
Armed officers entered the plane shortly after it touched down at 2.15pm and arrested the two men.
Supt Tomkins said no 'suspicious items' were recovered, and that officers carried out a forensic examination of the plane on the north side of Stansted Airport with flights carrying on as normal.
Passengers were eventually allowed back onto the aircraft with their luggage at around midnight on Friday to continue their journey to Manchester.