KARACHI: A video clip showing irate airline passengers expel Senator Rehman Malik and another lawmaker for what appears to be a delay of a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight has gone viral on the internet.
After facing what they said was a delay of two and a half hours, passengers of an Islamabad-bound PIA flight from Karachi, barred Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Rehman Malik and Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) Member of National Assembly Dr Ramesh Kumar Wakwani from boarding the aircraft. The two were accused of holding the plane back while other passengers waited for hours.
However, PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar speaking to Dawn said that the delay in the flight was due to a technical issue and not the fault of Rehman Malik.
“PIA does not promote VIP culture… but this flight was delayed an hour and 30 minutes due to a technical reason,” Tajwar said. “The delay had been conveyed to passengers via SMS. Some passengers who had given the contact details of their travel agent may not have been conveyed the message by their agents.”
He added that the plane took off at 8.55PM. “The flight was not delayed because of Rehman Malik,” Tajwar said. “We are looking into what actually happened but after the delay, the flight departed when it was meant to.”
Angry passengers show lawmakers the door
"We have taken it for too long... 68 years... are we going to take it for another 68 years?" passengers can be heard saying.
As Malik approached the jetway that connects the terminal to the aircraft, furious passengers are heard saying, "Malik sahab, sorry. You should go back. You should apologise to these passengers. You should be ashamed of yourself... 250 passengers have suffered because of you. It is your fault, sir."
The clip uploaded to video-sharing site Dailymotion early Tuesday shows passengers booing and ridiculing the lawmakers as they approach the aircraft to board. Crew members joined angry passengers in creating a din, which forced the two legislators away from the aircraft amid chants and slogans.
"Malik sahab, you are not a minister any more. And even if you are, we don't care... anymore."
PIA's flight PK-370 was scheduled to depart from Karachi's Jinnah International Airport at 7PM but passengers say it was delayed by more than two and a half hours.
Dr Ramesh Kumar Wakwani appeared to be accompanying Rehman Malik, and was also taken off the aircraft.
The flight departed for its destination without the two lawmakers.
Not responsible for delay: Rehman Malik
Hours after the video clip made the rounds on social media, former interior minister Rehman Malik took to Twitter to clarify his position.
The story on Twitter
Many thought the 'revolution' was nigh
While others took a more balanced view
With the occasional quip...
A few felt Rehman Malik was being targeted unfairly
And the real problem was the irate passengers
Many others pointed out that this is all too common
And there are bigger issues worth talking about