Safety concerns: Petitioner seeks judicial inquiry into crash of PK-661

Published: December 24, 2016

KARACHI: A judicial inquiry was sought into the crash of the PK-661 plane, which killed 42 passengers and crew members, including former singing icon Junaid Jamshed and his wife.

An Islamabad-bound flight of the national flag carrier had crashed after it took off from Chitral on December 7 this year.

The judicial inquiry was sought by a public interest litigant, Syed Muhammad Iqbal Kazmi, who filed a petition with the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday. He named the secretary of the cabinet division, the director-general (DG) of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the chairperson of the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) and another as respondents.

The petitioner informed the court that based on the data recovered from the ill-fated plane, the CAA’s DG had written a letter to senior officials in which startling disclosures were made regarding the functioning of ATR planes.

Referring to the content of the letter, the petitioner said 20 incidents were recorded wherein the engines of ATR planes, currently under the use of the national flag carrier, had stopped during flights. Apart from this, 90 cases of removal of the engines in ATR planes have been recorded, he added.

He argued that after occurrence of such incidents in the past, it was the obligation of the secretary of cabinet division, the CAA’s DG and PIA chairperson to refrain from purchasing outdated airplanes, using them and risking the precious lives of the crew as well as the passengers. “This act amounts to violation of Article 9 of the Constitution as well as the Civil Aviation Rules,” he alleged.

Kazmi pleaded that the court conduct judicial inquiry into the PK-661 flight’s crash to find the officials responsible for it and prosecute them, with further direction to compensate the legal heirs of the victims.

Also, the court was requested to order that the respondents ground all the planes currently being used by the national flag carrier and order their flight inspection through the CAA or any other independent investigating agency or department.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2016.

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