As Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) resumed its ATR flights for commercial travel after the fatal crash of December 7, the carrier’s staff sacrificed a black goat near the first aircraft to fly, apparently to ward off ‘the evil eye.’
All the 47 people on board an ATR-42 had died when it smashed into a hillside in the country’s north while travelling from the mountain resort of Chitral to Islamabad. This was the deadliest plane crash in four years for Pakistan’s cash-strapped national carrier, and the victims included famous rock star-turned-Muslim evangelist Junaid Jamshed.
PIA grounded its entire ATR fleet after the civil aviation regulator ordered a detailed check-up for all ATR aircraft. The chief of PIA Azam Saigol resigned in the wake of the crash, which took place near the town of Havelian in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
PIA management had insisted at the time that the aircraft had been technically cleared some months ago and was fit for flying.
However, to appease both passengers and pilots, the ground staff resorted to a local practice of slaughtering a black goat to ward off the evil eye.
According to reports, the goat was slaughtered moments before an ATR took off for the first time after tests.
The ritual took place before the Multan-bound flight left the Islamabad airport.