PIA, CAA get notices over not returning air crash victim’s belongings

By Jamal Khurshid
February 27, 2024
Firefighters spray water on the wreckage of a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft after it crashed at a residential area in Karachi on May 22, 2020. — AFP

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday issued notices to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and others on a petition of a US national against not returning the belongings of his father, who had died in the Model Colony plane crash in May 2020.

Petitioner Yaseen Abdul Fattah Elaayi, a Lebanese-origin US citizen, approached the high court through his attorney requesting that his late father’s belongings be handed over to him. The petitioner’s counsel said his client’s father Abdul Fattah Elaayi had died among 97 passengers of the PIA flight PK-8303 that had crashed in Model Colony on May 22, 2020.


He said the petitioner had approached the PIA and the CAA requesting them to return his father’s belongings that were shown to him after conducting a DNA test. He also said the body of the petitioner’s father was handed over to other family members, and he could not attend the last rites of his father.

The counsel said the PIA seems to have no relevant policy or standard operating procedure with regard to returning the belongings of the victims of a plane crash. He said that though the petitioner had been compensated, the personal properties of his father that were recovered from the air crash were not being handed over to him despite repeated requests.

The court was requested to direct the PIA, the CAA and other respondents to hand over the personal belongings of the petitioner’s father, and to also publish the final investigation report and other relevant information about the plane crash.

After the preliminary hearing of the petition, an SHC division bench headedby Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi issued notices to the PIA, the CAA and others, telling them to file their comments on March 18.

The court also directed the counsel to satisfy the court about the maintainability of the petition because his claim may require evidence since a considerable amount of time has lapsed after the incident.

Deportation stayed

The SHC also restrained the federal government authorities from taking any coercive action against a Bangladeshi woman, including her deportation from the country, without the permission of the court.

The direction came on the petition of Toslima Akter, who sought an injunction against her deportation and also sought a national identity card. Her counsel said she had married a Pakistani national and had two children with him but was facing criminal proceedings on the complaint of her former husband.

The court directed the Ministry of Interior, the National Database & Registration Authority and others to file comments on the petition. The court also ordered that no coercive action be taken against the petitioner, including her deportation, in the meantime, and adjourned the hearing until March 19.