It’s not often that ‘people power’ goes up against the powerful Pakistani establishment and emerges unscathed.
On Monday however, in a rare show of strength, passengers on board a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight decided to kick out a pair of government ministers who were delaying the flight as they went about their merry way doing what politicians generally do: procrastinate.
A video showing the two politicos – Senator Rehman Malik and parliamentarian Dr Ramesh Kumar – being ejected has taken the internet by storm and has been viewed thousands of time on video sharing sites whilst the public have taken to the micro-blogging site Twitter to join the chorus of admiration.
In the video, one passenger is heard saying “No sir! We’ve taken it for too long. For 68 years. Are we going to take it for another 68 years?”
As senator Malik walks towards the plane, passengers are heard shouting for him to turn back.
“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”, one passenger says.
As Malik – Pakistan’s Interior Minister from 2008 to 2014 – argues with the passengers, one traveller replies, “You are not a minister anymore!”
Meanwhile, Dr Ramesh Kumar Wakwani was forced out of his seat as people chanted “shame, shame, shame”.
As he left the aircraft, most of the 250 passengers applauded.
A spokesperson for PIA said in a statement that the airline did not promote ‘VIP’ culture and that the delay had been due to technical issues.
Senator Malik alter took to his Twitter account to also say that the delay had been due to technical problems and not him.
Whilst many members of the public applauded the passengers’ stand, one blogger cited the fact that PIA had scored a fairly feeble punctuality rate of 44 percent in August with nearly 1400 flights being delayed.