Srinagar: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) sacrificed a black goat to cast away evil on an ATR-42 plane before it was returned to service, according to newspaper reports on Monday.
A photo of PIA staffers sacrificing the goat next to the plane on Sunday went viral on social media, was aired on TV and was published in local newspapers.
PIA grounded its ATR fleet for so-called “shakedown” tests this month following a crash that killed 48 people and a separate issue during take-off, less than a week later, on another plane.
“The sacrifice of the black goat was done by the PIA staffers on their own before the release of first ATR airplane after the tests,” PIA spokesman Danyal Gilani was quoted by a news agency to have said.
Gilani said one plane out of 10 had been released.
The temporary ATR fleet suspension affected dozens of domestic flights in all four of Pakistan’s provinces, the report said.
It has also affected northern areas of Chitral and Gilgit, where PIA has begun operating C-130 aircraft, Gilani told the news agency.
Superstition is widespread in Pakistan, where millions visit shrines regularly for good luck, the report added.
The practice of sacrifice, which could be anything from a cash donation to the sacrifice of a goat, is believed within the Islamic faith to protect against evils and mischief.
Former president and current co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari reportedly sacrificed one black goat every day while in office, at the advice of his spiritual leader, the report said.