ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Angry Pakistani airline passengers have forced two lawmakers off a plane for delaying its departure by almost two hours, sparking a passionate debate
about the country’s so-called ‘VIP culture’ after footage was posted online.
The Monday night Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight from Karachi to the capital Islamabad was delayed by a technical fault for 90 minutes, and by a further 25 minutes as it waited for two politicians including the former interior minister to arrive, a government official said.
Senior government and military figures in Pakistan enjoy a host of lavish privileges, from plots of land to heavy police escorts that disrupt traffic.
They are often able to keep flights that are ready to depart waiting on the tarmac for their arrival.
But irate passengers on the PIA plane decided to take matters into their own hands this time – aiming a string of invective toward Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, a minority Hindu member of the ruling PML-N party, and later at the country’s former interior minister Rehman Malik.
In one of the videos (http://goo.gl/Y7tVqX), apparently shot on mobile phone, the passengers can be seen waiting at the door of the plane for Malik.
As he walks down the jetway, a man shouts: “Malik saheb (Sir) you should go back. You should apologise to these passengers. You should be ashamed of yourself!
“150 passengers have been put out because of you.”
Another man can be heard saying: “We’ve taken it for 68 years. Are we going to take it another 68?” referring to the country’s age.