Thursday August 11, 2022

1st anniversary Survivor remembers PK 8303 crash

May 23, 2021

One year on, the single biggest facet that keeps me traumatized about the crash is the fact that this entire fateful ordeal resulted in the loss of 97 innocent lives. 22nd May 2020 was one of the saddest days in our lives and will remain so forever.

God has been very kind on me and I have been managing my recovery well, including psychiatric counseling, medical treatment, etc., with the unwavering support of my employer & colleagues, and my family & friends. I am extremely thankful for the prayers of all known and unknown well wishers during the past one year.

However, as I worked towards my recuperation, particularly mental, let me share with you that I discovered other complications of sufferings. I realized that I have been immersed with “survivor’s guilt”. I could not bring myself to meet with the other survivor or the families of victims. I struggled to attend funerals without thinking that the family of the deceased must be wondering why I was given a miracle, when their loved ones were not. This is probably the most difficult phase of my life which I am still struggling to get over with great deal of endeavor.

Unfortunately, even after the lapse of 12 months of this crash, which was the 6th Pakistani plane to crash in a decade, nothing soberly changed at the national level to improve passenger safety. I believe that we at least need to bring domestic flight standards at par with international ones, and enforce standardized procedures to handle crashes and their aftermath. I believe that the entire eco-system needs to be reviewed and revamped to ensure better safety and security standards.

This is why I have decided to set-up a not-for-profit organization which would be dedicated to work on passenger safety and security. The foundation will have two main functions-firstly, work on raising awareness about passenger safety and their rights within the civil society; and secondly, work with policy makers to improve standards and regulations, push for legislative change and their implementation and ensuring better legal assistance and coverage for affectees.

On the first anniversary of this tragic incident, may God rest the departed souls in peace and give strength to their families to bear their irreparable loss. Aameen!

(The writer is Bank of Punjab President and one of the two survivors of the plane crash)