LAHORE -  A Multan-bound flight of PIA was diverted to Karachi airport after a female passenger onboard gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday.

The newborn was named as Jannat on the suggestion of the crew, including Rizwan Gondal, Nasreen Rind, Aneela and Sana Ullah Soomro who took extraordinary care of the mother and child.

It is worth mentioning here that as per International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules, no airline is authorised to issue a boarding card to a female passenger having pregnancy of more than 27 months. Although it is a question mark on the performance of the national flag carrier staff as to how the pregnant woman succeeded in getting a boarding card when she was about to deliver.

It is interesting to note that instead of giving a precise answer to this negligence, the authorities are celebrating the baby birth, exchanging greetings and being proud of violating the law.

The crew of the PIA flight came to the aid of the family as the woman gave birth. The PIA tweeted the pictures of the crew holding the baby. “Miracles happen everyday and we saw a little miracle happening today onboard our flight PK 716 from Madinah to Multan . A beautiful baby girl was born! We congratulate the proud parents on the new arrival and a big kudos to our cabin crew for their amazing emergency response,” the PIA said.

A senior PIA officer, while talking to The Nation, said, “No doubt, birth of the baby girl is not less than a blessing for the family, but I am astonished on the response of the management which, instead of holding an inquiry, was doing otherwise”.

Sources in the national flag carrier said PIA was falling in red zone of safety index of ‘Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft’ (SAFA), a European-based body. Last year in December a PIA flight operating with ATR plane met an accident in Hawelian area near Abbottabad wherein 47 precious lives lost. Then PIA was falling on 1.50 on SAFA safety index, but now it has touched 2.26 considered as red zone. Statistics show every year five million passengers travel with PIA on domestic and international routes and the airline staff was putting the life of those passengers at risk by committing negligence. SAFA inspectors make random checking of the PIA planes in Middle East and European destinations. Sources claimed during the inspection, inspectors every time find eight to 10 observations regarding safety standards, but the airline management was unmoved regarding improvement of the safety standards.

When contacted, spokesman for PIA said the birth onboard was premature due to which staff deputed at Madinah airport could not check the woman. He said,  “Sometimes a woman with such a condition does not approach the counter to have her boarding card; rather another member of her family received the boarding card, showing the woman is sitting at a distance.”

To a question about poor safety standards, he said, “Although the airline was falling in red zone of SAFA safety index in the past, now it has improved and is out of it.”