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May 24, 2020

PIA plan crash: Families wait for bodies as identification underway


May 24, 2020

KARACHI: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash, just two days ahead of Eid, has sent the country reeling.

The incident, in a year already marred by the virus outbreak and the chaos related to it, has clouded any faint glimmer of happiness offered by the festival of Eid, with the nation sharing the grief of those who lost loved ones. Many families had been on board the plane, hoping to reunite with loved ones for the Eid holidays, media reports say.

Hailing from Waheedabad’s Gulbahar area, Waqas and his family lost their lives in the crash.

Their bereaved relatives said Waqas, his wife Nida and son Aliyaan have already been identified, but two other children have not.

Relatives said that the deceased had been residing in Lahore for the past year.

The funeral prayers of the family were performed after Zuhar on Saturday, they added.

Another citizen, also from Karachi’s Bahadurabad area, was identified as Saleem Qadri. The deceased had gone to Lahore in relation to his work.

Qadri and his son, Osama, both died in the crash, according to their relatives.

The deceased’s relatives said the bodies were not in a condition to be identified and would be matched by DNA.

Karachi’s Mohammad Bashir was among the victims of the plane crash, his family said. His body has not been identified as yet.

The family members said the deceased left behind a widow and three children.

Dilshad Begum, a resident of Kharadar, also lost her life in the crash. Her body has been identified, said the son.

Dilshad Begum had gone to Lahore two months ago to meet her children.

Flight Steward Malik Irfan Dhillon’s family contacted the Edhi Foundation’s morgue for information about the deceased’s body.

One of his cousins said that they do not have any information about the body as yet and have given their blood samples for a DNA match.

The family members of other deceased plane crew would be brought to Karachi today (Sunday).

The families of four crew members departed at 1pm from Lahore to Karachi.

It has been learnt that 48 other passengers, close relatives of the tragedy’s victims, are also coming to Karachi.

PIA has installed a counter at the Lahore airport to guide the bereaved families.

PIA spokesperson Abdullah Khan said the process of identification and handing over bodies to the families was underway.

Abdullah Khan said according to the PIA laws, the families will get Rs500,000 in compensation.

Meanwhile, PM Imran Khan issued special directives as per which Rs1 million per deceased person would be given for burial.

The spokesman said the airline’s district managers will visit the homes of crash victims and pay for the burial process. He said 21 bodies have been identified so far.

According to Chhipa officials, six bodies have been handed over to the relatives of the deceased.

Officials said the body of Mohammad Tahir was shifted to Model Colony, Balach’s to Gulshan-e-Hadeed while Farhan’s was taken to Ghotki.

He said the bodies of crash victims Dilshad Begum and Riffat have been identified, adding that three bodies were handed over to the relatives.

The bodies of lieutenant Shaheer and Rehan Sheheryar were shifted to PNS Shifa on Saturday.

According to rescue officials, the body of flight’s captain Sajjad Gul had been identified and was at the Chhipa morgue.

Crash victim Mussarat Yar Khan’s sister said the body had not been identified so far and the DNA test has been done for matching. She said her brother was not physically and mentally well.

Another victim, Iqra Shahid from Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal, has been identified. Her brother said she could not return to the city earlier due to the lockdown and was a student at a private university.

The Karachi-bound flight from Lahore had been seconds away from making an emergency landing at the Karachi airport when it crashed in the residential Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir, right outside the airport's boundary wall.