The Peshawar High Court (PHC) directed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to submit the inquiry report of the Air Blue plane crash in Islamabad that killed all 152 people on board last July.
The petitioners’ counsel, Omar Farouk Adam requested the bench to grant interim relief on the writ petition in which family members of the crash victims have asked for the Air Blue fleet to be grounded in public interest till the findings of the inquiry report are made public.
The counsel informed the two-member bench comprising Chief Justice (CJ) Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel that the CAA has yet to go public with the inquiry report of the plane crash despite the two-month timeframe announced by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, nor have the victims’ families been taken on board about the progress in the investigations. More than 1000 passengers have perished in the 20 deadliest crashes in Pakistan’s aviation history. Never has any inquiry ever been made public by the CAA.
The Chief Justice observed that before the court can pass any order for interim relief, responsibility has to be fixed in the inquiry, since it would have serious consequences. The bench directed the CAA to submit the inquiry report if it has been finalised by the federal government. Counsel for Air Blue, Senator Waseem Sajjad submitted that the airline had extended full cooperation to the victims’ family members and the government.
The CJ took strong exception to the Interior Ministry’s choice of the word ‘no’ to answer in the negative to all the questions raised in the writ petition. The bench directed all the respondents to submit complete written statements. The CJ said that it was a very serious case and respondents should not take it lightly. The bench said that the case would be fixed for next hearing after receiving the CAA’s reply on the inquiry report.
The Air Blue flight ED202 crashed in the Margalla Hills in Islamabad, killing all 146 passengers and six crewmembers on board on July 28, last year. PML-Q lawmaker, Marvi Memon had petitioned the PHC with the support of the victims’ family members to direct the federal government to constitute an independent board of inquiry for determining the causes of the crash and to make the findings public.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2011.