The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) submitted an inquiry report of the 2010 Airblue crash in Islamabad to the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday, putting the blame on the pilot.
A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Fasihul Murk took up the hearing of a writ petition, filed by former MNA Marvi Memon and the families of those killed in the crash.
CAA Director Safety and Inquiry Air Commodore Khwaja Majeed submitted the authority’s report to the court.
Majeed told the bench that the inquiry report places the responsibility for the crash on the captain of the flight. He further told the bench that on the day of the crash the pilot had been asked to go back due to poor weather conditions, adding that two flights had already returned.
According to the report of the black box, which was sent to France for investigation, the pilot, in his last conversation, informed the control tower that he was heading back, Majeed said. The pilot was also informed that he was flying in a no-fly zone.
The chief justice asked the official whether the wreckage of the plane was checked for explosives traces and whether the plane was shot down from the ground. Majeed replied that the plane’s wreckage indicated that the crash was an accident.
The CAA official failed to come up with a satisfactory reply when asked whether international standards were followed in the crash investigations. Upon this, the court observed that if there is any plane crash in Pakistan in the future, the CAA will be held responsible.
Compensation process still incomplete
Expressing displeasure over the non-payment of compensation money to the victims’ families, the court gave 45 days to the federal government and three months to Airblue to complete the process.
Abdul Qadir, a section officer from the defence ministry, also appeared before the court and said that the delay in the payment of compensation was due to a delay in succession certificates. He informed the court that so far the government had issued compensation money amounting to Rs500,000 per victim to the families of about 40 out of 152 victims.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2011.