Readers’ Op-ed #1: “National” flag carrier, or “provincial?”

Many times, our readers send us opinions and news to be posted on the Karachi Metblog. The Readers’ Op-Ed Series is started to bring selected pieces from the readers to the public. This is not the BBC, so the choice, editing and placement of content is totally whimsical. The bloggers and the management of Karachi Metblog may not neccessarily agree with the content.

Here’s one by Heart of Aries.


Well folks…PIA has done it again with its tail colors though with a blunder this time. PIA has had a long and shaky history of doing and redoing livery in general and tail colors in particular.

In late 90s the much awaited change of tail livery came up after almost 8 years as the late Sadequain’s Islamic Art was adopted for the tail of PIA fleet without changing the colors on the aircraft fuselage (body). Immediately after the repaint, the new Managing Director decided that it looked like ‘insects crawling on the tail’ and ordered undoing the entire fleet. Though the general opinion was that it looked great. Then in 2004 the much awaited corporate makeover came with the traditional green tail and PIA lettering giving way to the new creamish tail with the fluttering Pakistani flag. This livery drew mixed reaction from the local and international public and aviation concerns with some saying that it was a fresh-look whilst others complained of ‘lack of color’.

Recently PIA decided to redo the aircraft fleet with different tails again in less than 18 months from the last makeover. However this time they’ve gone a step in the wrong direction by selecting four different tail colors for the entire fleet. Each color representing one province of Pakistan. Not only that the flag (after the already disappeared PIA lettering from the tail) has given way to the Urdu lettering of PIA on the top of the tail and the flag goes down to the aft door of the aircraft, but the aircraft carries the ‘provincial’ name in large letters on the aft body.

In mid 90s British Airways did something similar by painting their aircraft in various ‘wordwide’ themes which drew a furious and hostile reaction from the British public who insisted that the airline no longer represented Britain as a country. The same applies here that PIA’s new tail does not represent Pakistan but one of its provinces. This is such a disappointment. I hope PIA is able to undo this change and try to bring all four provincial themes on the same tail. That would be better. Plus the flag and PIA lettering should be prominent.

The picture shows the first aircraft recently painted in Karachi in ‘Colours of the Desert’ – Thar livery depicting Sindh.

Other than that…the tail looks strikingly beautiful.
-Heart of Aries

Here are some useful links:
Press release by PIA on livery change
History of PIA, Livery page

36 Comments so far

  1. Original-anon (unregistered) on March 27th, 2006 @ 5:25 pm

    Yes, whimsy is what was missing from this blog :)
    BTW, did you announce and invite posts for this ‘Readers’ Op Ed’ series?
    Perhaps the authors are too lazy to write much anymore – witness my good friend MB. Was he just a one hit wonder?

  2. yo yo (unregistered) on March 27th, 2006 @ 7:49 pm

    Paint the plane in MQM Haqiqi Colors

    oR Paint it PITCH BLACK … in remembrance of our Martyrs in the streets of Azizabad, Nagan ChowrangI…

    oNLY PLane flying from ISLamabad should contain PAK ARMY logo…

  3. Irfan (unregistered) on March 27th, 2006 @ 9:33 pm

    I think we should stop picking on things like that. Tail of an aircraft doesn’t make you Pakistani or Sindhi/Panjabi etc. What we should remember is if an aircraft from PIA got some of our provincial art then that provincial art does belong to Pakistan too and if that fleet is representing any province then its representing Pakistan too.
    So I guess we should move forward instead of stucking ourselves in aircraft’s tail.

  4. Faisal (unregistered) on March 27th, 2006 @ 10:40 pm

    @original Anon

    I absolutely love your comments.
    Regarding MB: It’s true. Seems as if the boy wonder was actually a one hit wonder.

  5. Original-anon (unregistered) on March 27th, 2006 @ 10:51 pm

    @Faisal – why thanks again, seems we have formed a mutual admiration grammar brigade:)
    I have been trying so hard not to mention MB (got to feel a little sorry for the guy) but not to worry, he is still busy deleting comments from his one post. I noticed that he got rid of Poo’s last comment in which Poo begged me to cease and desist.
    And that reminds me, where is Poo Poo Head?

  6. Darthvader (unregistered) on March 27th, 2006 @ 10:56 pm

    OA – you mean “one shit wonder ” right ..?

    so this so called Reader’s Op-Ed is started by WHO ? KMB has a management(LOL) ? oh really .. and it manages what ??..and i thought this was KMB not KMB Times ….little did i know huh …damn right this is not BBC .
    stop this bullshit and just post your friend’s phucking essay without trying to come up with these lame ass excuses .we will read it if we want to .these guilt-ridden explanations of inherent favoritism are not neccessary . and who cares anyways ? its just a blog . whats more stupid about posting this is your silly ass prelude to make it sound legit and kosher .
    and this legal disclaimer type thing “the management of KMB may not necccessarily agree
    with….blah blah blah ” …phuleease , maybe these half-assed disclaimers in some weird way make you feel important or something . give this crap to someone who doesn’t know better .
    ….if a disclaimer was neccessary Sean or Jason who actually run this would have put it up.
    and last but not the least its “connoisseur” ..not “conniessuer” ..if jacking off to big sounding words is your thing .. there you go sweetheart.

    Dekh magar piyar se –
    Vader , the Dark Sith

  7. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 12:42 am

    Dear perpetually negative commentors – and only those, no one else – who cares what recent attack thing (criticism is too fine a word for your attempts at leaving footsteps behind in the world) you come up with? I will post and delete as I choose.

    I care for only the real readers.

  8. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 12:49 am


    Personally I thought the livery was very interesting. (Hence the disclaimer.) Perhaps Heart of Aries is right about the PLACEMENT of the ethnic design – but I am no expert on that matter. Compared to the pevious hideous gone-pale version of it, this is very interesting.

  9. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 12:58 am

    BTW, Mr DarkVader, I won’t pretend that I like you, but you could at least use language becoming of a gentleman. At least I am accomodating extremely insulting comments – for now.

  10. Original-anon (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 1:07 am

    You know Ramla, I asked a simple question. Did you announce and invite posts for these Op Ed piece? Why can I not get an answer?

  11. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 1:14 am

    Dear orig-anon: of all the people and things and reasons-to-live on earth, why would I choose a commentor to be rude to? I really do have a life.

    Here’s your answer: i, amongst other authors, sometimes get user contributions on my email. I just thought posting some of them – though most are irrelevant, not very well-written, whatever – would make the blog more inclusive.

    Why were you rude to me, and suggest that I was lazy? I didn’t like that.

  12. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 1:20 am

    Orig-Anon: You have given thoughtful comments in the past. I just don’t think this brainless commentary is as fashionable as it looks. And it doesn’t become of the educated readers who, I assume, are able to contribute more meaningfully than nitpick on every word, and throw in a “gaali” while they are at it.

    I can’t dictate to you, but may you reconsider!

    Honestly if the readers were a little more gentle, the authors would be encouraged.

    BTW it would be good for us kaala sahibs to stop pretending about immaculate standards of journalism, criticism, and whatever. We are beginners, and make faults. All of us. Let’s just admit this, and move on. If a suggestion is made non-aggressively, which sensible person would not accept it?

  13. Original-anon (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 1:41 am

    Dear Ramla, I don’t think I was rude. I made a general comment that ‘perhaps the authors are too lazy’; However, let me apologize if it hurt your feelings.
    What am I supposed to reconsider? Have I ever used a ‘gaali’? Profanity ? Ever? Please show me any such instances.
    And I do find this ‘kaala sahib’ terminology most offensive. Where is the virtue in lowering our standards and accepting mediocrity? Why do we persist in bringing up this reverse snobbery? I enjoy good language, English or Urdu, so why should I have to hide that? Certainly in an inclusive environment all points of view should be heard. Your attitude of you will choose who you respond to or what you will delete, seems to be the prevailing attitude here of most authors but I really expected you to be above it.

  14. wasiq (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 1:52 am

    Well done KMB the comments counter has just crossed the 8000(mostly useless)comments…..

    Anyways the price of egg is no more relevant.

  15. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 1:59 am

    Orig-anon: The Kaala sahib comment was not about you; I should not have put it in response to you. I have a british education, but I call myself a paindoo and don’t think much of anything either. By the phrase I meant the general utopian demands that we Karachiites of all other people make about this and that standard while contributing not a practical whit to improving anything. Since I have been guilty of the same, it’s something I recoil at. For at least I know it did nothing to help anyone.

    I do think only good things that people do for others and themselves matter, the rest are creations to lull people into a constant delusion of action while doing nothing at all. So here’s my personal philosophy, since if a bio isn’t published, some stone-thrower will make the story be told anyhow.

    BTW personally I just don’t adhere to any philosophy or socialism or capitalism and most of these terminologies don’t really mean anything to me. Anyway, enough of me.

    What can I say about this choice thing? If readers contribute and I published, here are gentlemen with gaali galoch and all sorts of accusations stated or implied. If we “sit on emails sent by readers,” the readers don’t like it. It’s absurd! What can one do? And do you think it’s really any good use of human productive time to answer every abusive preson hiding behind the net and having fun at the expense of someone else’s sensitivity?

    I cannot be diplomatic about this, this is not my nature to sugar-coat. If I as a writer am not contributing anything here, upon my honor I am going to reconsider being a part of this group.

    Fi-Aman Allah!

  16. Darthvader (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 2:23 am

    Dear Ramla – i apologize toooo. please don’t hate me , i beg you . if there was something in this world that i could do to end up in your good books , please tell me what it is ?? i will move heaven and earth to make it happen (believe me i can ). the fact that you are accomodating my most insulting and inappropirate comments and not deleting them , really shines a light on your infinitely gracious personality ; and helping a friend out is a “good thing” anyways and i should have known better than to open my stupid mouth and blurt out the obvious. I only wish there were a few more like you in our country …sighhh. But ..iam a changed Sith now . YES i will admit , i want to become what you describe as a “real reader ” . i feel like i have been wasting my life wallowing in this filth of being “not a real reader” .off course i say that to my shame . all i need now is your guidance and wisdom to the path of becoming a “real reader”. this is going to be my mantra until i reach the nirvan of “real reader” .

    do guide me , pleaseeeeeeeeee.

    your cosmic mate
    Vader , the Dark Sith

  17. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 2:30 am

    DarthVader: you have the cloak of Internet invisibility at your side, and I cannot compete with this. As for the light in your life, when you turn the Internet off, perhaps you may find it in yourself.

  18. Darthvader (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 3:19 am

    ummmm ..cmon now – you turn it off first .*wink*
    god i love these silly little games we play. and oh BTW i wouldn’t know how to turn the “Internet”off anyways . Internic will be very unhappy if i even tried .

    and since you deleted my innocent little comment that i posted at 233am …allow me to repeat it .

    ” and here is to the British Education …jolly good …heheheh

    cheers indeed Ramla, my cosmic mate
    Vader , the Dark Sith

  19. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 3:32 am

    Dear DarthVader,
    Literacy is no cure for Jahiliyat, and nor for your English, which is poor. Anyway, I too have no cure for depressed folks who look for meaning by cleaning up after other’s careless typos and rescuing their lost comments. Quite a job!

  20. quratulain khan (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 3:33 am

    ramla, please don’t allow a handful of negative individuals make you want to reconsider your authorship on the blog. i have really enjoyed reading your posts and it would be a shame to see you go.

  21. quratulain khan (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 3:49 am

    darthvader, this site does not offer parental control (yet). plus, in case no one ever told you, it’s rude and offensive. so would you mind leaving out the profanity please? or is that too much to ask of you?

  22. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 4:01 am

    Dear DarthVader and other folks who never like anything:

    I don’t know who you are, and perhaps you are good people who will continue to think other people are made of cardboards, or perhaps you are not in which case it’s useless for anyone to request kindness from you.

    I have decided to vote with my feet. It’s nothing personal, and I respect your rights. Good luck to you! Allah Hafiz.


    It was an old decision b/c of my commitments, just prompted now. I tend to “interact” which is perhaps not right when there are other commitments on my time and I can’t choose my response responsibly. It’s not fair on readers when a writer gets too tangled in “responding”. But it’s in my genes to interact with people, and I will take this talent elsewhere to be fair on all. No hard feelings.

    I will continue writing, only elsewhere. :)

    I like this place, I will keep contributing as a reader. I feel very good about my decision; and… sigh!… a little sad about missing the author’s gang as a co-author, missing the (many silent) readers who matter, and missing posting here about Karachi!

    But ham bhi hain, Karachi bhi hai, aap bhi hain! It’s just the Metblog I am departing from. Keeping in touch in the tangible world! (y)

    Good luck to all the readers. I will shortly write a note of thanks and good bye.

  23. Shiraz (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 5:55 am

    Ramla, what is wrong with you??? For a while you were doing great. You were doing a great job ignoring all the junk that was being written here and now you are going to play right into their hands?? I thought you are stronger than that. I like the stuff you wrote here and it makes no difference what a few readers have to say about it. You don’t have to sit here and justify yourself. Write what you like and do what you feel is right. I think you are good for this blog and for karachi. You can’t let a few people drive you away from here, and that goes to all the authors here. I hope you change your decision and keep posting. Like freedom, access to this blog is a privilege not a right. If some abuse it they don’t deserve it. I would rather prefer not reading such comments as we have all been reading here lately by a certain few and they know who they are. You don’t have to be nice and let it go all the time. It’s about time you authors step up to the plate and take back KMB which is being hijacked and you guys are letting it happen.

  24. Darthvader (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 9:52 am

    My Dear Ramla :
    the more i read into your words the more i find myself in complete agreement with everything that you have to say . from that little “paindo ” comment to my eternal Jihalat and poor english …i must admit , you are dead on-target . all i have to say in my defense is —-not everyone around here has a British Education like you do ..:))
    having said all of this – i will join the chorus and ask you to not leave . if you don’t like my comments (as if there was a doubt), which are my honest opinion , just delete them or block ’em or whatever .off course i will bitch and complain , but that comes with the territory.
    put me on a ignore list or something . this is just a blog , you are going to find Jihalat and i
    mean REAL jihalat in real life in every corner of this great country of our’s , everywhere , from khi to khyber pass . from slavery to child abuse , from forced prostitution to …everything else . you name it we have it. so what are you gonna do when you come across it??…I am sure you will do what you can, which could be a lot or very little , but one thing you can’t do is run away from it , because jihalat must be dealt with .you can’t quit because thats the easy way out.if you believe in it then , fight the good fight ,as they say-
    Believe me , there are authors on this blog who i wish would quit are not one of ’em.
    so ..take me as this real jihalat, and keep doing what you do and i will continue to be my old jahil-self (nothing personal).it’s up to you .

    love as always
    Vader , the Dark Sith

  25. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 12:34 pm

    Shiraz, you are right. I hope that following the lead of Dr. Awab, whose move to block IPs I supported even though I personaly liked some of the banned commentors, other authors will also reach a joint conclusion to regulate the comments. It’s not just MB, most Pakistani websites eventually reach the same conclusion – (and I am not concerned with the rest of the world). The only reason why I did not go for the block is that: 1/ there will be a pointless new rant about “Why did you do it?” and “free speech” which is beraly understood in the first place. 2/ I expect some characters to come back with a vengeance which would just spoil it more for serious readers.

    Anyhow, my decision is because 1/ I do like to come back and read comments hoping that at least 50% of them would be discussing the post but no. It’s a hijack, with even the once interesting readers just believing it’s smart to be offensive. It’s a waste. 2/ Time and energy are better spent where productive, and I am writing elsewhere and also educating.

    I don’t ever give up to jahilliya, I only changed my course. Thank you for reading the posts. InshaAllah, there will soon be new authors here, readers will be more understanding, and it will be a better community for all.

    Take care. May Allah watch over you.

  26. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 12:52 pm

    Dear DV: at some point in life, it’s an educated person’s responsibility esp in a country like ours to stop misusing/wasting their education.

    I went to interior Sindh recently, and there are people who have gone near hopeless because they are desperately searching for light, education, and direction. And here’s what the educated few of our country are doing: one is busy having harmful fun, and the other is silly enough to take the bait. No. I’d rather work with those who need people like us who Allah has blessed for a reason, i.e. to give back.

    A clap is banged with two hands, so here is I taking the other hand away. Consider it weakness, or considering it changing course wisely.

    You don’t have to reply. Do consider what I said.

  27. Original-anon (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 2:40 pm

    Dear Ramla, Good luck in your new ventures. I asked you a very simple question and a simple answer would have sufficed. I don’t believe I deserved to have been called ‘brainless’ and accused of ‘gaalis’ for that. I did not make any accusations. If you read something more in my simple comment than I wrote, then there is nothing I can do about that.

  28. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 6:28 pm

    Orig-anon: hmmm. My last comment, now deleted, was in poor taste. The gaali thing was *not* ref’ing to you. And that’s all I will say. My decision to leave the blog *was* old, b/c I think blogging suits those places and nations more where the “talk” is in proportion to the “walk.”

    No matter how well or ill I was writing, it was “walk.” I like the real world better. It’s my opinion, and no one has to agree.

    Fi Aman Allah!

  29. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 7:01 pm

    Oops. Read:
    No matter how well or ill I was writing, it was “TALK.” I like the real world better.

  30. Original-anon (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 8:32 pm

    You know Ramla, I did read that comment and wondered. I could imagine your state of mind but I did not think it was quite you. I am used to more grace from you. So thanks for proving me right and I sincerely appreciate this gesture.
    Also, many thanks for clearing the ‘gaali’ thing (since you might have noticed that I am rather sensitive about that:)
    Anyway, I will wish you good luck. May you excel at whatever you do next.
    Aah I hear violins playing now :)

  31. Salman A. (unregistered) on March 29th, 2006 @ 5:23 am

    I went to the “useful links”, and I would say the colors and patterns they have chosen are strikingly vivid.

  32. quratulain khan (unregistered) on March 29th, 2006 @ 8:43 am

    where else will you be writing, ramla? i would love to read what you have to say :)
    although i’m dissapointed to see you leave this blog (for selfish reasons), i laud your reasons for deciding to work out of elsewhere. what you wrote about the children in interior sindh is so true. and sad. i admire your perspective. all the best to you. you will be missed here.

  33. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 29th, 2006 @ 1:50 pm

    Orig-Anon: It must be the solar eclipse playing with my aura!

    Salman: Yup, I liked the art on the planes. But Heart of Aries has a point. The planes might not internationally be immediately recognizable as Pakistani. I am not idealistic, and the provincial and linguistic divide in our country is a fact. However, all things considered and on a balance, PAKISTAN remains our one identity and that should come above the flavors of Pakistan.

    Perhaps for a FURTHER livery change, the responsible persons can consider this point. An open and positive Awami feedback is needed to help the national carrier and other such companies in their decision-making.

  34. Ramla A. (unregistered) on March 29th, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

    QuratulAin: Well, first I want to fix my own blogs which need attention. Then I am writing for a very new magazine HIBA ( They are new and rather naive now, but I believe in them and want to see the magazine grow.

    Finally, I am working on a project to capture and write the lectures I give – and distribute them to a wide audience. This needs time and detailed attention, and that’s why I had decided to disengage with projects online and offline which are focused more on problems than on solutions. As a teacher of entrepreneurship, I feel planting a tree is a better approach than hacking on every feeble thing! is where I started keeping the lectures – but for time. I am in the process of collecting material to put on the space. It’s blank for now.

    So. That’s the “real reason.”

  35. Dsouza (unregistered) on April 1st, 2006 @ 7:24 pm

    Heart of Aries…so what exactly are you trying to say because I really have a hard time understanding Pakistanis who just cry about something for the sake of crying!

    First of all if you knew this or not, the new livery represents every part of Pakistan including Jammu and Kashmir! It has tail designs representing NWFP (Khyber Pass), Balochistan (Bolan Pass), Sindh (Thar Desert) and as well Punjab and Kashmir (I forget what they are called). Regardless, how is this a blunder? If anything it’s about time PIA did this! Unity is what is missing in Pakistan…PIA is a national carrier…and for the first time is actually representing every part of Pakistan literally on it’s tail!

    Then you have the foolishness to actually compare this to what BA did in the 90s. No buddy your wrong; British Airways went worldwide…it began representing everything BUT Britian and the people of Britian had all the right to complain.

    PIA on the otherhand is representing IT’S OWN country…what’s wrong with that? Are you trying to say we should not be proud of the fact this is one of the few countries in the world which are naturally ethnically diverse?

    Get your facts right and grow up…the design looks awesome and it’s a step in the right direction. For the love of God Pakistanis stop biatching about every little thing and start appreciating! If you don’t like something…at least of the wits to have an actual “argument”.


  36. nadirali (unregistered) on April 14th, 2006 @ 11:32 pm

    Many Pakistanis especially Muhajirs(who arent really Pakistani at all considering they came from abroad and turned Karachi into a hellhole)pretend that Sindh,Balouchistan and the rest of the provinces are not there.Their idea of PAKISTAN is just a place where there are no other ethnic groups.Just PAKISTANI ethnic group.They dont want to except Sindhi Blouchi or NWFP existense.Because they wish its not Pakistan.Well guess what.PIA is for the first time represnting Pakistan.

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