Pakistan's embattled national carrier has been widely mocked for sacrificing a goat next to a plane to ward off bad luck, weeks after one of the country's worst air disasters, reports AFP.
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) turboprop plane built by European manufacturer ATR plummeted into a mountain in a northern region on December 7, bursting into flames and killing all 47 people on board.
The animal slaughter, which took place on Sunday at Islamabad airport and was captured in a photograph which went viral, was met with derision by many social media users -- who said the carrier was forgoing safety standards in favour of superstition.
Leading newspaper Dawn ran a front-page story on Monday headlined "PIA: on a wing and a prayer".
The sacrifice was 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.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
Even Pakistan Defense's official account trolled PIA
The world should learn from the PIA how to improve their flight safety. Sacrifice a black goat on the runway. pic.twitter.com/CcCbpFEmBI— Pakistan Defence (@defencepk) December 18, 2016
Many condemned the act
Shocking the depths we have fallen to. PIA was amongst the top airlines of the world & now it is slaughtering goats for safety of its planes— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 19, 2016
This is so beyond beyond #stupid.One more head rolls after #ATR crash.Poor kala baqra gets slaughtered by #PIA to keep its planes safe. pic.twitter.com/g2nQtH6Ek6— Adil Najam (@AdilNajam) December 18, 2016
F*cked up final thought of a black Goat: How his slaughter will save an ATR from crash. How? How?— ((( [email protected] دشید ))) (@HaroonRsh) December 18, 2016
#PIA needs new planes, not 'evil eye' black goat sacrifices.I'm not going to board any PIA plane under such circumstances.— Sabena Siddiqi (@sabena_siddiqi) December 19, 2016
Many took a dig at the airline
If a black cat walks infront of PIA plane, will they still fly that plane?— sabirnazar (@sabirnazar1) December 19, 2016
This is what happens when you don't sacrifice a black goat.... https://t.co/QyoDLKXOBv— Syed Tariq Pirzada (@tariq_pirzada) December 19, 2016
Lesson learned from PIA.Pakistan Cricket Board should sacrifice a black goat.@Xadeejournalist— Faisal (@FaisallKhann) December 19, 2016
Hope Arsenal learn from PIA and sacrifice a black goat before each game in the middle of the pitch.— Hamster (@Hamster41) December 18, 2016
However, some defended their actions and asked people not to manipulate facts
Why are people making fun of sadqa nothing wrong with it and #Pia did not do this their crew did. Really retarded manipulation of facts— FK (@faisalkapadia) December 19, 2016
In order to make fun of #PIA, people are making fun of the concept of Sadqa, and its power.PIA is stupid enough. You don't have to be.— عباسی (@HakunaPotaytoh) December 18, 2016
(Feature image source: Reuters | Twitter)
(With AFP inputs)