Bhoja Air crash: We are accessories to murder

Our empathy for the victims is trumped by our apathy that allows such tragedies to happen in the first place.

Talha Zaheer April 21, 2012
Please refrain from shedding tears or feeling remorse for the unfortunate victims of the Bhoja Air crash. As painful and heart wrenching as this episode is, I’m afraid we have no right to feel sorry or pity for the departed souls and their loved ones.

This may seem harsh, but it is the truth; we are all culpable in what is brazen murder. We are the ones that are allowing these airlines to operate within our borders; we are the ones that are tolerating unethical business practices that all too frequently imply cost cutting at the expense of the public at large.

Air Blue and Bhoja Air have already suffered at the hands of all too predictable air disasters while the fleets of PIA, Shaheen et al are also lamentable. It is common knowledge that PIA may be forced to cede operations as it no longer commands a fleet fit for flying (or a crew for that matter). Our national carrier itself is flirting with extinction, so the standards of the smaller domestic airlines can hardly be expected to be any better. Are our aviation standards so poor that anything with wings and an engine attached to it is cleared for flying?

It isn’t just the lives lost in this horrific accident, but the life of every single passenger that flies on these ‘flying coffins’ is put at risk, by these airlines. Disregard for human life and its sanctity at the expense of profit, which is the disgusting truth. This isn’t just an issue plaguing our aviation industry, but a cursory glance at other industries will reveal the same immoral pattern. This is not good business sense; this makes you an accessory to murder.

Where are our courts and our politicians? Are they going to introduce and enforce legislation that will confine avoidable tragedies like these to history books? If there is to be another aviation tragedy, its reason should not be negligence.  As for the media that is highlighting this event, shame on you. Bollywoodising news reports with emotionally charged musical numbers and carefully crafted tear inducing narratives should be grounds for termination of broadcasting rights. The plight of those suffering should not be used as a battleground for ratings. PEMRA, if you want to censor and ban anything, this is your cue. No longer should channels be allowed to invade private spaces, especially of those mourning the loss of loved ones.

Rather than focusing on the actual news, the actual problems and the actual solutions, the media is keen to prove which one of them is the least tactful. Since the nation follows the media’s lead, it should hold itself responsible for the behaviour and tastes of the masses. This event is somber, shocking and painful enough as it is. Please let the feelings sink in purely, these are real lives, real people, not the script of a film. Conspiracy theorists may say what they will about foreign channels, but at least they have the dignity not to exploit moments like these.

We only deserve to shed the tears we must shed for the victims once we have done something about this. We are a nation of armchair intellectuals suffering from attention deficit disorder. They say ‘don’t fix it if it isn’t broken’; well it is broken. When we show that we respect the sanctity of our own people’s lives, only then can we expect foreign powers to do the same. Our empathy for the victims and their loved ones is trumped by our apathy that allows such tragedies to happen in the first place.
Talha Zaheer A University of Toronto Graduate in Economics, Political Science and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. He tweets @talhaz (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Sana | 12 years ago | Reply I think we need to get our pilots to undergo psychological test instead of testing our planes. The Air Blue report clearly shows pilot's arrogance and and a few in the past (e.g. crash in Nepal, where pilot loved to fly around Everest) too. I believe it is people that are more dangerous than equipments!
Awais | 12 years ago | Reply @Sarah H.: When you say that it was "it was their time, and they had to go; and when it’s time, no precautionary measures or high-quality security can save you." You make it sound as this was inevitable and the passengers had to die in this way and no other. I bet there is a greater chance of dying on the way to the airport than dying in a plane crash.
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