Their gaze fixed on the outpatient department door, their agony unimaginable.
Families of Bhoja Air crash victims spent Friday night on the grounds in front of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), waiting to collect the remains of their loved-ones.
Saturday morning, around 8am, the excruciating wait came to an end. Hospital authorities started handing over the victims’ remains.
Distraught relatives lined by the side, showering the coffins with rose petals.
Identifying the remains
Hospital authorities on Saturday handed over the remains of 116 bodies, out of 127 crash victims, to their families. The remains were identified with the help of facial recognition and the National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA) biometric system. Eleven victims remain unidentified.
According to Pims Joint Executive Administration Director Dr Altaf Hussain, the remains of the unidentified passengers are being tested for DNA matching, which will take six to seven days.
“Eight family members have given their blood for DNA,” Professor Mehmood Jamal, executive director of Pims, told The Express Tribune.
One grief-stricken family came from Mansehra to collect the remains of five family members. “What should we say, our whole family has been eliminated in this incident,” said one of the relatives.
Khalid, who came to receive the remains of his father’s sister Hameeda, said she was travelling with her two daughters – Sadaf, 29, and Shazia, 24 – to Islamabad. “They had to be at the US Embassy in Islamabad on April 23 for a visa interview. Little did they know this would be their last journey,” he said.
Younas was another ill-fated passenger who was coming to Islamabad after performing Umrah. He missed two flights for various reasons and finally booked his seat on Bhoja Air.
Brigadier Javed Malik and his wife Abida were coming to see her father, who fractured his leg in a road accident in Islamabad earlier in the week. Their daughter also wanted to come along, but was not able to find a seat. One of their sons is studying in Australia and will reach on Sunday night for his parents’ burial. “I do not know whether to consider their daughter lucky or unlucky,” said Tanveer, a ward boy at Pims.
Meanwhile the wife of Ghulam Farooq along with their four-year-old daughter was trying to locate her husband, whose body is still missing. Farooq was coming to take his family from Islamabad to Karachi, where he was working at State Life.
Boeing offers condolences, assistance
In a statement issued on their website, the aircraft manufacturer Boeing extended its condolences to the families and friends of those lost in the Bhoja Air accident and offered to provide assistance to Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan if needed.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2012.