Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Thursday said that the inquiry report of the PIA plane crash — due to which the nation lost 97 souls — will be presented in parliament on June 22.
“There must be no confusion in anyone’s minds that there will be an attempt to save anyone or implicate anyone deliberately,” he promised.
“I assure the family of the deceased pilot (Captain Sajjad Gul) on behalf of the prime minister that a transparent inquiry will be conducted,” he said.
The minister said that instead of speculation, people must now show trust in the inquiry being carried out.
Sarwar said that the prime minister had shown great displeasure during a meeting held today to discuss the progress in the probe and asked why it was that the reports of the previous aviation disasters had never been shared.
He said that 12 such tragedies had taken place since Pakistan came into being of which 10 are those of PIA aircraft. He vowed that reports of all 12 aviation disasters will be made public.
“It is our responsibility to present all the facts timely and in a transparent manner to the public.”
Sarwar said that right after the incident, the aviation ministry notified a board with the approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan. “The board has been instructed to conclude its report expediently,” he said.
The four-member investigation team consists of three air force personnel and one representative of the industry regulator.
The aviation minister said he reviewed the crash site and met with the families of the deceased. He said about 12-15 houses and multiple cars had been damaged and will be evaluated for compensation.
So far, 51 of the 97 bodies have been identified and returned to their heirs, he said.
“We are trying our best to hand over the bodies without any delays.”
He said that the aviation ministry will provide Rs500,000 in compensation and the government will provide Rs1 million to the victims’ families. The rest will be provided by insurance companies.
The minister once more assured the families of the deceased that a clear and transparent inquiry will take place.
He regretted that every matter in the country is politicised. “There was a plane crash in 2010 as well. No one raised so many objections then.”
Sarwar said that whoever is found responsible will be held accountable. “If the plane had a technical error, that too will be on record.”
He said that the flight data recorder and voice recorder are being decoded and the facts will soon be clear.
“I am satisfied with the performance of our institutions,” he said.
Speaking of the day of the crash, he said civilians demonstrated great spirit while participating in rescue efforts.
The minister also spoke about the planned bifurcation of the Civil Aviation Authority. “On the directives of PM Imran Khan, the committee, headed by Dr Ishrat will work on the bifurcation of the civil aviation authority and the matter should be finalised by June 30.”
He said there is no credibility in the news that the debris of the plane was lifted or removed before the adequate investigation in the case.
The minister, speaking of the government’s efforts to ensure fairness in the probe, said: “We have tried to include representatives from various departments to analyse each aspect of the case closely. We have also included psychiatrists in the team to monitor the otherwise negligible details in the case, for instance, the psychological state of the pilot while he was on the flight.”
Karachi plane crash: 97 killed, only two survive
The PIA plane crashed into a narrow residential street in Karachi on May 22, damaging several houses in a densely-populated area in the vicinity of the airport. Of the 99 people aboard, 97 were killed and only two passengers survived.
Soon after the crash, authorities had cordoned off the site and banned the transfer of objects from there until a team of experts from Airbus arrived to carry out a formal investigation into the incident.
PIA and Air France are also assisting the plane manufacturer in the investigation.
The PK-8303 tragedy has become the third most-catastrophic aviation disaster in the country’s history.
The ill-fated Airbus A320 plane was handed over to the PIA in 2014 and had completed 47,100 flight hours and 25,860 flight cycles until its crash.