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August 2, 2019

Family sues PIA for ambulift crash killing grandmother


August 2, 2019

KARACHI: A city court on Thursday issued notices to Pakistan International Airlines, its chief executive officer and the Civil Aviation Authority over recover of Rs14 million in a damages suit filed by a Karachi family whose grandmother died in an accident at an Iraqi airport due to alleged negligence of the defendants.

The 4th senior civil judge of Malir district, Muhammad Ishaq, directed the national carrier authorities to appear in the court on August 10 to respond to queries about the suit. He warned in case of their absence, the case will be decided ex parte.

The suit was moved by Aseem Sardar, pleading that they had gone for pilgrammage to Iraq where his 94-year-old grandmother, Mrs Nisar Fatima, died at the Najaf airport due to the “negligence, malfeasance and inappropriate arrangements” by the PIA in June 2018, causing them trauma and agony.

The family claimed that they traveled to Najaf by flight no. PK 219 from Karachi via Dubai on June 2, 2018. Keeping in view the grandmother’s age, they said they had requested wheelchair service, which the PIA denied. Resultantly, the grandmother along with six other people were placed on the ambulift by the PIA personnel, which crashed to the ground from height.

The grandmother, Mrs Fatima was seriously injured and died at a Najaf Hospital during treatment the same day. On the other hand, the Iraqi authorities “falsely” charged the son of Mrs Fatima, Sardar Ali, with her murder as the PIA told the court Fatima's son Sardar Ali had taken charge of the

wheelchair which fell from the ambulift while exonerating the PIA staffers. Besides, the PIA, according to the suit told the press that all of the family had mounted the ambulift which led to the crash but despite that were offering them every possible help including all expenses.

Barrister Musavir Gajani termed this a depiction of the breach of duty of care towards its customers by the PIA officers. The barrister said the defendants issued legal notices but the PIA did not reply. They said they also requested the CAA to investigate the incident but in vain. The plaintiffs said they had to deal with all expenses for medical bills, return flights all in addition to the mental stress of criminal proceedings and all the more having to part with an aged and loved member of the family. Against this background they have sought damages to the tune of Rs14,000,000 as compensation.Talking to The News, PIA spokesperson Mashhood Tajwar said the case is sub judice and the airline will respond at an appropriate forum.

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