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Relatives wait for identification of victims through DNA testing

If it is not possible to provide DNA samples from parents, the second option is samples from children, the third from siblings and more distant relatives, like cousins will be the last option. Wali Khan, a relative of passenger Salman Zainul Abideen, said Pims has insisted that a blood sample from a close relative is required. A number of distant relatives of the deceased passengers have been trying to contact close blood relations of the victims and have called for samples from distant relatives to be accepted. Molecular biologist Prof Dr Riazuddin explained that forensic DNA sampling is a complicated process and it takes nearly 10 days to finish one sample. “Whenever bodies are burnt, the DNA sample is taken from bone marrow. There are 13 loci in DNA that are inherited from the parents, and the length of a locus is measured to identify the body’s parents,” he said. “The other option is to take children’s’ samples, because it is easy to match the locus. The third option is siblings, because the locus has some differences so it needs to be extrapolated in the process – only twins have the same locus.” Dr Riaz said in response to a question that although forensic DNA testing is available in Islamabad, including at the Police Forensic Lab and Khan Research Laboratories, it would be better to send the samples to the Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology at Punjab University in Lahore, which is the best laboratory in the country. Pims Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram told Dawn the DNA sampling is done on the same parameters used by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. He said because some bodies were dismembered, 44 samples were taken to first match them with each other. He said five bodies – a flight attendant, two Airport Security Force officials and two other men from Chitral – have been identified, and a woman is in the process of being identified using rings she was wearing. “Blood samples were collected from 35 relatives, and we are trying to contact the remaining relatives for samples,” he added. He said samples are being collected from the bodies at Ayub Teaching Hospital in Abbotabad and Pims, and the DNA tests will be held at KRL and the Police Forensic Lab in Islamabad. Samples will only be sent to Lahore in case of necessary samples. Relatives wait for victims to be identified A member of the Chitral’s royal family, Tayyaba Aziz, 20, was travelling to Islamabad with her father Farhad Aziz to take an admissions test at the National University of Science and Technology. While her father’s body has been identified, hers was unrecognisable. A relative of Farhad Aziz, Khush Waqt, told Dawn that he arrived at Pims at 9am on Thursday and waited for the bodies of his relatives until noon. “I called Tayyaba’s brother to give a blood sample. We will shift Farhad’s body and wait for Tayyaba’s,” he said. Wali Khan said he was satisfied with the arrangements made by various government departments at Pims, but he, along with other relatives of the victims, called for a joint investigation team to ascertain what happened to the plane. “We have been hearing that the plane was already out of order. If that is correct, I can say that it was not an accident, it was a murder of 47 people and the culprits should be punished,” Mr Khan said. The brother and mother-in-law of evangelist Junaid Jamshed also came to Pims, and Humayun Jamshed submitted a sample. They left after they were told it would take a few days to recognise the bodies, the Pims vice chancellor said. At a camp set up by the PIA at the hospital, Director General Mujtaba Naqvi said: “It will take a few days to confirm the identities of the bodies and hand them over to the relatives.” Dr Javed Akram said relatives will be told when to collect the coffins once they have been identified.–Published in Dawn on Dec 9, 2016.]]>

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