A PASSENGER plane belonging to state-run Pakistani International Airlines has crashed near the southern port city of Karachi, an aviation official said.

There were no immediate reports on the number of casualties.

The aircraft arriving from the eastern city of Lahore was carrying 99 passengers and seven crew members, the official, Abdul Sattar Kokhar, said.

Witnesses said the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in a residential area near Jinnah International Airport.

Local television reports showed smoke coming from the direction of the airport. Ambulances were on their way.

Witnesses also said the plane had crashed into a row of houses.

The army has also reportedly been deployed to start a rescue operation.