Black Goat Is Sacrificed On Tarmac Of Pakistani Airport
Sunday was a bad day for a certain goat in Pakistan.
Employees of Pakistan's national airline took a black goat to the tarmac, near an ATR-42 aircraft that was ready to depart on a domestic flight from the Islamabad airport, and sacrificed the animal.
"PIA lampooned for bizarre goat slaughter," read the headline in Pakistan's Express Tribune .
PIA is Pakistan International Airlines, which had grounded its fleet of ATR turboprop passenger planes after a Dec. 7 crash of an ATR killed all 47 people on board. The flight on Sunday was the first by an ATR since then.
It wasn't PIA's idea to bring a goat into the mix. Airline spokesperson Danyal Gillani issued what was no doubt the first airline statement about goat sacrifice in the history of aviation: "It was done by some local employees as a gesture of gratitude over the clearance of the first ATR [for flying]." Animal sacrifice is a part of Islamic tradition and can be found in other religions as well (see Leviticus 23:19).
And the goat's color was significant. Some Pakistanis believe that a black goat is particularly effective as a way to counteract black magic and the evil eye.
In defense of the sacrifice, a Twitter user who goes by MisBis wrote: "There's nothing wrong in giving Sadqua [a charitable offering] ... Sadqa bari balao se bachata hai [it hedges against many troubles] ... stop making it a joke."
But the Pakistan International Airlines Pilots Association was not happy. "When you slaughter an animal in the middle of a major airport next to an aircraft, it is bound to attract attention," said a representative.
PIA has goat the best security procedures. They've goat everything under control.— Basit (@iBasitt) December 18, 2016
That it did, thanks to Twitter. And of course many people couldn't resist cracking wise.
A blogger for the Dawn newspaper, a national English-language daily in Pakistan, noted:
(Editor's note: Yes, I always thought "mutton" referred to sheep meat, but in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and some other countries, "mutton" refers to goat meat and "lamb" refers to a sheep dinner.)
Meanwhile, the BBC asks: "Did Sunday night's sacrifice help?" Their answer: "All we can say is the flight departed safely for Multan, and later returned to Islamabad."
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