The Pakistan International Airline has earned another bad repute with tragic incident of plane crash in Karachi which left 97 people dead on May 22, two days before Eid ul Fitr.
Inquiry is still underway to find cause of the PIA’s plane, A-320, crash incident in Model Colony. Except two survivors, 97 deceased passengers included 26 women, 68 men and three children.
Viewing scores of tragedies and failures by the national flag carrier, people have always been skeptic about its performance, however, this time people were more disappointed by the company’s dealing with identification and handing over process of charred bodies to their loved ones. The way they dealt was tantamount to rubbing salt into the wounds of the already aggrieved families.
Heirs of the deceased who lost their lives in the plane crash took to social media to express their anger. They said PIA management’s behavior was reckless and negligent while dealing with the national tragedy.
One person, claiming to be brother of a woman who died along her three kids, said PIA had provided pathetic facilities to heirs of the victims during identification process. He said he had to face extreme difficulty while trying to get death certificates of his relatives because of some error in documentation with PIA. The man said when he tried to contact police surgeon he came to know that he was on leaves, which was beyond his understanding in this situation. He expressed lack of faith in civil administration. He requested the army chief to step in and remove the bureaucracy to address grievances of people.
In a video, a woman said that a father was trying to find his two children in debris for the last five days and there was no department or desk established to facilitate his queries and help him in his quest. She sought help from Prime Minister Imran Khan saying to show some empathy.
In another video, a man, who lost his wife and three kids, said ever since he arrived in Karachi he faced bureaucratic red tape. Arif Ali Farooqui claimed that the DNA samples that were taken were totally erroneous. He said if he could not identify his wife and a daughter, he might have been handed over somebody else’s bodies. He said a team for forensic testing arrived from Punjab for they did not trust the team of Sindh. He maintained that he was still looking for his two kids.
Later, Arif Ali Farooqui claimed that Karachi University’s forensic and DNA lab had collected DNAs of 62 bodies but they had given no details to relatives of the victims so far. He said 52 other samples were collected by the team that arrived from Punjab.
A petition has been filed with the Sindh High Court seeking investigation into the matter. The petition also demands from the court to order PIA to ground all its uninspected planes.
The government has announced to give compensation money to families of the victims and bear expenditure for repairing of the houses damaged in the incident.
SOP announced to retrieve bodies
Six days after the incident, Iftikhar Shallwani, the Karachi Commissioner, had issued SOPs for the identification and retrieval of PIA plane crash victims’ bodies.
The Karachi commissioner had released a notice outlining SOPs for the identification and recovery of victims’ bodies.
The SOP’s are listed below:
Assistant commissioners or mukhtiarkars will be deputed at Sohrab Goth Edhi Centre and Chhipa Center at Nursery
Senior police officials and medico-legal officers will be present at the mortuaries to complete legal formalities in coordination with the district administration
After the DNA matching, they will confirm the availability of the body through physical verification
Assistant commissioners and police officials will coordinate with bereaved families once DNA reports are shared
After the confirmation of a body, its ghusal, shroud and coffin are to be arranged by the assistant commissioners. The body will finally be draped in the national flag
Sindh police would issue a report to the MLO for immediate issuance of the death certificate
Police officials will communicate to the bereaved family regarding receiving of the body from either of the two mortuaries
Once the family arrives, officials will receive them, seek necessary documents and console them
After the completion of formalities, the body would be handed over by a police party with honour
Officials have been asked to ensure minimum time in the process and deal with families of the victims with empathy and utmost respect