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February 19, 2020

SHC directs CAA to submit report on PIA plane crash inquiry

Karachi

February 19, 2020

The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed the Civil Aviation Authority to submit a report with regard to an inquiry into the PIA flight PK-661 crash.

Hearing a petition seeking a judicial inquiry into the December 2016 flight crash inquiry in which 42 passengers, including singer-turned-preacher Junaid Jamshed and his wife, and crew members had lost their lives, a division bench headed by Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed inquired federal law officer as to why the report had not yet been completed.

The federal law officer submitted that the inquiry was in process and sought time to file a complete report as well as a reply of the CAA secretary a show-cause notice. The high court directed CAA to file inquiry report with regard to plane crash and adjourned the hearing till March 17.

The petitioner, Syed Iqbal Kazmi, told the court that the Islamabad-bound flight of the national flag carrier had crashed after it took off from Chitral on December 7, 2016. He stated that the CAA director general had written to his seniors, making startling disclosures about the functioning of ATR planes.

He said that 20 incidents were recorded in which the engines of ATR planes used by the national flag carrier had stopped during flights. Besides, 90 cases of ATR planes’ removal of engines were recorded as well, he added.

He said that despite having knowledge of the defects in the aircraft, the respondents did not take precautionary measures to avoid accidents and save previous lives. He argued that after the occurrence of such incidents in the past, it was the constitutional obligation of the cabinet division secretary, the CAA DG and the PIA chairman to refrain from purchasing outdated planes, using them and risking the lives of the passengers and crew members.

Kazmi claimed that the respondents had violated Article 9 of the constitution as well as the civil aviation rules.

He pleaded for a judicial inquiry into the crash to fix responsibility on the relevant officials and prosecute them, and for ordering the payment of compensation to the legal heirs of the victims. He requested the SHC to direct the respondents to ground all the planes currently being used by the PIA and to order their inspection by the CAA or any other independent investigating agency or department.