This isn't a joke. Weeks after one of Pakistan's worst air disasters, the country's embattled national carrier sacrificed a goat next to a plane to apparently ward off bad luck.
The animal slaughter, which took place on Sunday at Islamabad airport and was captured in a photograph which went viral, was not appreciated by social media users.
On December7, a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) turboprop plane built by European manufacturer ATR plummeted into a mountain in a northern region, bursting into flames and killing all 47 people on board.
Weeks after the disaster, while the airlines resumed flying operations for its ATR planes, but it seems this wasn't sufficient for the company. They had to ensure they are 'safe'.
In Pakistan, killing a black goat is supposed by many to ward off evil. So staff from the airlines slaughtered a black goat on Monday ahead of the ATR plane taking off for the first time since the recent crash of PK-661 flight.
This move didn't go down too well and the airline was mocked.
The Dawn covered the event in a front page story headlined "PIA: on a wing and a prayer". The headline of the Express Tribune read: "PIA lampooned for bizarre goat slaughter".
PIA sacrifices a black goat before resuming ATR services, they take their historical nickname "Please Inform Allah" (PIA) very seriously— Fasi Zaka (@fasi_zaka) December 18, 2016
#PIA, kala bakras don't keep the planes up and flying, efficiency does. accidents still happen. that's the hazard of high-risk technologies.— EH (@ejazhaider) December 18, 2016
However, an airline spokesman was swift to point out the goat had been slaughtered by employees on their own initiative and the airline management had no hand in it.
In case you're thinking it was a photoshopped picture, it wasn't. It was in fact confirmed by PIA spokesman Danyal Gilani, who said it was a "gesture of gratitude" by some employees before the resumption of flights of the airline's ATR fleet. It was not sanctioned by management, Gilani said.
PIA grounded its 10 remaining ATR planes in the wake of the disaster pending detailed inspections.
The airline's chairman Muhammad Azam Saigol last week tendered his resignation citing "personal reasons".
Before December 7, PIA had been crash-free for 10 years, and received a 7 out of 7 rating on the highly-cited AirlineRatings.com, which launched its annual listing in 2013.
But a 2014 analysis by US statistician Nate Silver based on data from 1985-2014, found the airline to have had a consistently high number of what he termed "near-misses" -- an indicator of risk.
(With inputs from AFP)
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