After living abroad for few years, our expat community, while deciding to travel back home, normally decide to take the national carrier as an act of patriotism, so that the homeland can benefit out of this act. However, what they come across is something which can only be narrated by my relative who experienced the catastrophes that PIA performs in disappointing the returning expatriate.

He told me that, "Physicists at CERN have spent billions trying to understand quantum matter and looking for the magic Higgs particle by creating an underground laboratory, deep in Switzerland, where particles are fired off at very high speeds. Not to be outdone in the research and development, PIA has created its own live laboratory in every aircraft. The experiment is performed by giving the passengers boarding passes and then asking them to board their planes and seat themselves. To make things a bit complicated, the seats are misaligned laterally, making the seat numbers appear pseudo random. The ensuing madness is witnessed by air stewards, who are very careful not to intervene or help. They are careful not to prejudge any passenger who is sitting in the wrong seat, as the airline is famous for double bookings. The idea of all this, I think, is to understand and model market forces. Invariably, the old and the frail are disadvantaged but that is part of the Darwinian nature of the market, which is being investigated".

Then he goes on to say;"On one side at CERN, the physicists are looking for what they call the ‘God Particle’, on the other side, PIA attempts makes a similar attempt. In the event that the flight leaves on time, the luggage handling at Islamabad airport ensures that passengers end up late, here the idea is to understand "passenger deceleration" a unique phenomena of quantum freezing where particles freeze up when things travel so slowly. Indeed this is opposite to the work at CERN which involves firing particles faster than the speed of light and using special cooling to stop lasers overheating! Hopefully both institutions can collaborate and share knowledge in the future to make the world a better place". I am sure that this will be the last act of patriotism on part of my relative.

DR. IRFAN ZAFAR,

Islamabad, April 10.