Security officials, PIA probing animal sacrifice at BBIA

Updated December 24, 2016


PIA staff had sacrificed a goat for ‘sadqa’ near ATR-42 aircraft before take-off.— INP/File
PIA staff had sacrificed a goat for ‘sadqa’ near ATR-42 aircraft before take-off.— INP/File

RAWALPINDI: The slaughtering of a goat at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport hanger before an ATR flight on Sunday has raised concerns among security officials about how a butcher’s knife was brought into the restricted zone.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has also begun an investigation into how the butcher’s knife and a goat were brought to the airport’s hanger, a senior official, requesting anonymity, said.

As news of the animal sacrifice before a PIA ATR-42 flight on Dec 18 went viral on social media, BBIA security personnel were also surprised that a knife was brought into the restricted area, where the entry of any individual and weapon is subject to security clearance.

A senior security official said an investigation has been launched to ascertain how the black goat and the knife were brought to the airport hanger and security personnel who were on duty at the time will be questioned.

A goat was sacrificed for sadaqah was sacrificed close to the ATR-42 by PIA workers to offer prayers for the safety of the passengers on one of the airline’s planes given clearance to take off on Sunday. The first ATR-42 flight since the shakedown tests of the entire fleet later took off from Multan.

The management of the PIA has distanced itself from the goat’s slaughter, and spokesperson Danyal Gillani said the act was done by local employees as a gesture of gratitude after the first ATR plane was cleared. He added that the animal was killed several hours before the flight was operated.

The PIA spokesperson said the Civil Aviation Authority had decided to carry out shakedown tests of the PIA’s entire ATR fleet, and all 10 aircraft were grounded. He said two ATR planes have been cleared.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2016