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Commissioner issues SOPs to identify plane crash victims’ bodies


May 29, 2020

Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the identification of the bodies of the victims of the Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) Airbus A320 plane crash in District Korangi’s Model Colony.

A notification issued from the Commissioner House on Thursday stated that the SOPs will facilitate the aggrieved families. The relevant deputy commissioner (DC) will deploy assistant commissioners (ACs) and mukhtiarkars at the mortuaries of the Edhi Centre in Sohrab Goth and the Chhipa Centre at Nursery.

Shift-wise duty roster will be issued assigning duties to each officer deployed at the mortuaries. “The Sindh Police Department shall deploy officers of SP [superintendent of police] rank to be present at the mortuaries to complete the legal formalities and coordinate with the district administration,” reads the notification.

A police surgeon and a medico-legal officer (MLO) will also be deployed at each mortuary. The duty rosters of all the relevant departments will be shared for effective coordination.

Once a DNA match is received, the police officer and the MLO will confirm the availability of the body through its physical verification from the post-mortem examination number.

“The physical verification of the body will be done by the police officer and the MLO,” reads the notification. The assistance of the Edhi and Chhipa centres will be obtained, as the case may be.

The ACs and the SP on duty will coordinate with the aggrieved families once the DNA reports are shared. After the body is confirmed as recognised, the AC and the police officer on duty will manage the arrangements for its Ghusl, shroud and coffin with the final draping with Pakistan’s flag.

Meanwhile, the Sindh police will furnish the report to the MLO, who will issue a death certificate immediately.

“The senior superintendent of police [SSP] will communicate to the aggrieved family about the identified body to collect it from the respective mortuary,” reads the notification. The SSP will also share the information about the identification of the body in the DNA group on WhatsApp for the knowledge of all concerned, including the PIA’s coordination officers.

Once the family arrives, the ACs and the SP will receive them, seek their necessary documents of identity and console them accordingly. Once the formalities are completed, the body will be handed over by a police party with honour.

Through the SOPs, the commissioner has asked for incurring the minimum possible time in the process, and for dealing with the families with empathy and the utmost respect. The ACs will furnish the information to the South DC on the prescribed pro forma about the progress of each stage of the process after the DNA report.

The stages are the confirmation of body with the post-mortem examination number, the issuance of death certificate, the communication with family and the handing over of body.

The commissioner also visited the offices of the Edhi and Chhipa centres. He directed the officials concerned to ensure that the bereaved families do not face any problem and are facilitated in every way. He said that all arrangements have been made for the identification of the dead bodies at the Edhi mortuary in Sohrab Goth and at the Chhipa mortuary at Nursery.