PIA, Pakistan’s state-controlled airline recently told its crew to “wear proper undergarments”, and immediately took a U-turn after receiving a ton of backlash from locals and celebrities alike. Following the strange and inappropriate advisory to the airline crew, the PIA chief human resource officer shared a written clarification, expressing regret over the words used in the advisory.

Prior to the clarification and the backlash, the state-owned carrier told its crew that wearing undergarments underneath the airline uniform is a “must”. In its advisory, PIA mentioned that “improper attire” of the crew “portrays a negative image” of the airline and leaves a “poor impression”.

“It has been observed with great concern that a few cabin crews tend to dress casually while travelling intercity, staying in hotels, and visiting various suffices. Such dressing leaves a poor impression on the viewer and portrays a negative image of not only the individual but also of the organisation,” the advisory memo read, as quoted in a Dawn report.

After the memo went viral, many people took to Twitter to criticize the move. In a desperate attempt of damage control, PIA’s Chief HR Officer issued a statement which read – “Despite the fact that the spirit behind the advisory was to ensure proper dress code, however, the standard bulletin, inadvertently, came out with an inappropriate selection of words.”

The Facts of the Matter

Amid the financial crisis, the national calamity which wrecked the country’s infrastructure, Pakistan is once again in news, and again not in the way it would’ve wanted. The country’s own airline PIA recently received flak for asking its airline crew to wear undergarments, claiming that few crews “dress casually” while traveling.


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“Undergarments must”: PIA’s Inappropriate Memo

Earlier on Thursday, the state-controlled airline told its crew that wearing undergarments beneath the uniform “is a must”, and added that lack of proper attire leaves “poor impression” of the airline.

In a recent internal advisory memo, PIA General Manager Flight Services Aamir Bashir wrote, “It has been observed with great concern that a few cabin crew tend to dress casually while travelling intercity, staying in hotels, and visiting various suffices.”

“Such dressing leaves a poor impression on the viewer and portrays a negative image of not only the individual but also of the organisation”, the note further read. Aamir Bashir, who signed the memo, also asked crew to be “properly dressed in plain clothes which are formal and are worn over proper undergarments”.


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Celebrities, Locals Condemn PIA’s Memo

It would come to no one’s surprise that the advisory memo was massively criticized from locals and celebrities alike.

Ms Marvel director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy reshared the news and captioned it with – “Our national airline has one million problems and let me say the way its women dress doesn’t even make that list — this is what happens when misogynist men get promoted.”

Pakistan actor Adnan Siddiqui too criticized the diktat in a tweet which read – “Instead of moral policing the cabin crew, the PIA should rather invest its energy in improving the infrastructure, safety and service standards.”

Pakistani locals and other netizens also slammed the memo.


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PIA Does a U-Turn

In a desperate bid to damage control, PIA human resources chief expressed regret over the memo. However, the department stated that the words were being twisted to defame the airline.

“I personally feel regretful and am convinced that the words could have been more civilised and appropriate in this context instead of the words published which unfortunately are being trolled and twisted towards the defamation of the company in the media (electronic and social) rather than its actual essence,” the PIA HR chief wrote.

 

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