2010 airplane crash: ‘AirBlue to compensate heirs only if cases are withdrawn’

Published: March 28, 2012

Many victims of the 2010 crash could not be identified despite DNA testing. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: 

Budget airline AirBlue has decided to compensate heirs of the 2010 crash victims if they withdraw their lawsuits against the company, the petitioners’ counsel told Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday.

“AirBlue has communicated to petitioners that compensation will be given to them once they step down and cases are withdrawn from court,” Umer Farooq Aadam, who is representing the aggrieved families, told a divisional bench of the PHC, which is headed by Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan. He said that despite court orders, the company has not paid compensation, which is worth Rs5 million.

“File a contempt of court application and submit it,” the chief justice told Aadam, adding that the court will continue with the case until the heirs of the last victim were compensated.

Aadam told The Express Tribune that the airline’s administration, in order to protect 152 companies that can be held responsible for the crash, had also asked the heirs to sign a universal relief agreement, which bars them from filing a petition against these companies anywhere in the world.

PIA inspection

In an earlier hearing, CJ Khan had ordered the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to arrange inspection of aircraft of national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and other private companies and an examination of CAA’s own performance by experts from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The order was passed over reports that many PIA planes were unsafe.

Abdul Rehman Abbasi, CAA’s senior law officer, informed the court on Tuesday that a letter has been sent to the ICAO to send a team of experts. “They (ICAO) have sought time to send a team but to avoid further delay in inspection of aircraft, we request that a retired senior judge of the high court be appointed to inspect PIA’s planes,” he said.

But the CJ said that foreign experts should inspect PIA aircraft. “Why are you apprehensive of foreign experts? We have received information that substandard spare parts are being used to replace damaged ones. We know that a company grounded 65 aircraft when one of its aircraft crashed,” he said.

Speaking about the AirBlue crash, Abbasi told the court that all transcripts, including that of the pilot’s conversation with the control tower, radar and co-pilot, were available and could be produced before the court.

DNA tests of crash victims

Many crash victims could not be identified despite DNA testing at KRL Hospital in the federal capital, an official of Islamabad’s Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences told the court on Tuesday.

However, Junaid Hamid, a relative of a crash victim told The Express Tribune that KRL had demanded Rs4.6 million from AirBlue for conducting the tests but the company refused and DNA tests were never conducted. The report offered to be produced before the court is fake, he said.

Ministry of defence

Thirty-seven of 84 applicants had been compensated while 22 cheques are ready for distribution, according to Tanveerul Islam, counsel for the defence secretary, who appeared before the court on Tuesday. He said the heirs were paid Rs0.5 million each.

Barrister Momin, who also represented the defence ministry, told The Express Tribune that the Sindh High Court had directed district and sessions judges to dispose of applications of all successors pertaining to the compensation case within ten days of the date the application is filed.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Mar 28, 2012 - 11:20AM

    Bravo PHC we need you badly. Contempt of court is the appropriate forum to go after Air Blue’s management and owners as they are perverting the course of justice. They should not be allowed to profit on the lives of the public. As racketeers Air Blue should be placed in bankruptcy and its assets auctioned to pay compensation to the public. I will supply all the vaseline that the jail authorities need to keep Air Blue management happy.

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  • Anserali Khan
    Mar 28, 2012 - 12:51PM

    CAA should cancel Air Blue’s licence. IATA should also impose a ban.Air Blue is being un-fair and un-just to the families of the victims

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  • Mar 28, 2012 - 1:12PM

    I m concerned with the data of black box which is still not made public, we want to know the real story of crash

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  • Akka
    Mar 28, 2012 - 1:46PM

    They obviously does not know the first thing about law or court proceedings. The record of what occurred is quite hilarious.Recommend

  • Mar 28, 2012 - 1:59PM

    are they serious? is it a matter of bargaining over dead bodies?Recommend

  • Aristo
    Mar 28, 2012 - 2:31PM

    How about this time people of Pakistan become conscious enough and boycott Air blue totally until complete compensatory payment is made. It takes a human to feel the pain of other humans, we need to be humans first and then a consumer.

    I, for one to start this boycott, will not travel on Air Blue until the said payment is made, this is the least I can do for my fellow country men who died such a tragic death.

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  • Bravo
    Mar 28, 2012 - 4:27PM

    I witnessed the proceedings. there is nothing wrong with the report. you made best effort, Akka, notify, if anything wrong.

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  • Bravo
    Mar 28, 2012 - 4:29PM

    count me too. Aristo

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  • lolola
    Mar 28, 2012 - 4:41PM

    @Akka : Thats what a court reporter from another news paper would say. Get a life!

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  • Chulbul Pandey
    Mar 28, 2012 - 4:47PM

    Why should one boycott Air Blue before the Court decides what the liability/compensation is. Isnt the matter in Court? it is right? so let the Court decide. If you are unahppy with Courts decision then boycott Air Blue. I agree with you that an airline should compensate victims that have died as a result of a crash, but only if they are liable to compensate. If the judge who has all the evidence before him hasnt made a decision what qualifies you to chant the boycott? As far as the angle of fellow countrymen, as a matter of principle, i also want you to boycott everyone here to travel on buses, especially the way bus drivers drive these days and take an oath before your countrymen not to sit in a car until traffic laws and traffic police is improved yes? more people die from road accidents than air crashes. for the record we had a close friend on that plane.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Mar 28, 2012 - 4:51PM

    The Air Blue Counsel has gone mad and this one of the reasons that he is asking the petitioners to withdraw their cases.

    What is the guarantee that Air Blue will give compensation to the petitioners if they withdraw their cases from respective courts?

    And what is the guarantee that Air Blue is going to compensate to the petitioners the same amount, which the petitioners have asked the relevant courts for compensating of a particular amount by Air Blue.

    I don’t think that petitioners should withdraw their cases, otherwise Air Blue will pay a meager amount and that too in small installments.

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  • Cautious
    Mar 28, 2012 - 5:51PM

    Pretty common for airlines to offer settlements in exchange for signing document giving them immunity from further legal challenges. What’s not so common is a bungled investigation managed by an inept govt/military.

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  • Hamid
    Mar 28, 2012 - 8:12PM

    Air Blue is owned by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the PML-N member. Where is Nawaz Sharif now???? Why is he not taking the responsibility to give people justice?

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  • Chulbul Pandey
    Mar 28, 2012 - 11:29PM

    There is also a settlement procedure by way of a compromise, which the courts then decree upon. So when anyone says Air Blue is requesting heirs to withdraw cases what it can possibly mean is that Air Blue is perhaps willing to compensate the families of the victims provided the families withdraw the cases. Insofar as the suit/case remains pending the families can conintue to seek damages/compensation even if Air Blue has made a payout. They will be receving money twice. One point of view is that Out of court settlements/compensation end up being smaller figures but the point of it is to pay te families sooner rather than later. If it stays in court then its likely to conclude when the first woman becomes president of America!

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  • Raza
    Mar 29, 2012 - 2:18AM

    Air Blue should be ashamed of itself. First it allowed an unfit pilot’s negligence to take so many precious lives. Now it doesn’t want to be sued, and is using it as a condition for compensation payment. Air Blue’s license should be cancelled.

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