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PK-661 flying to Islamabad from Chitral crashes

PIA to operate four flights a week on Chitral route

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-661 carrying over 42 passengers crashed on the way to Islamabad from Chitral on Wednesday at 4:42pm.

DC Chitral Osama Ahmad Waraich along with his wife and an infant baby, pop singer-turned preacher Junaid Jamshed and his wife and newly-appointed Hashoo Foundation Chitral manager Salman Zainulabedin were among the passengers.

PIA Spokesman Daniyal Gilani said there were 42 passengers, five crew members and one ground engineer on board.

The plane manifest shows there were to be 31 men, 9 women and 2 infants on board the flight, including singer-cum-evangelist Junaid Jamshed and his family, as well as three foreigners.

The ATR-42 aircraft departed from Chitral around 3:30pm and was expected to land at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport at around 4:40pm but crashed in Havelian near Abbottabad shortly after a distress call was sent to the control tower.

‘Survivors unlikely’ A government official on the scene told Reuters that there are unlikely to be any survivors. “All of the bodies are burned beyond recognition. The debris is scattered,” Taj Muhammad Khan, a government official based in the Havelian region, told Reuters.

Khan, who was at the site of the crash, added that witnesses told him “the aircraft has crashed in a mountainous area, and before it hit the ground it was on fire.”

An eyewitness, Jumma Khan, said, “The bodies we have taken out are not intact. They are beyond recognition. We cannot tell women from men… they are just legs and arms.”

Chitral airport sources confirmed that Junaid Jamshed, his family, and Deputy Commissioner Chitral Osama Warraich were on board the flight and are feared to be among the casualties. Junaid Jamshed was in Chitral for a Tableeghi mission and was returning to Islamabad when the aircraft crashed.

He was scheduled to deliver the Friday sermon at Parliament mosque. Jamshed was a prominent member of Pakistan’s Tableeghi Jamaat, a global Islamic revivalist movement with an aim to urge Muslims to return to primary Sunni Islam.

Jamshed rocketed to fame in Pakistan in the 1980s and 1990s as the singer for the Vital Signs rock group, and later launched a solo career, with a string of chart-topping albums and hits.

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