Heirs of air crash victims forced not to seek legal action against PIA

Speaking at a press conference at the National Press Club along with others, the mother of the plane’s pilot said: “It is unfortunate that I could not get the investigation report on the plane crash in which my husband died eight years ago. Now I am waiting for the report of the PK-661 crash in which my son lost his life.” Shah Fahad, the brother of Ayesha Usman, another victim, added that December 7th was observed as the International Day of Civil Aviation but the families of those who lost their lives in the plane crash last year had to gather to complain that both the Civil Aviation Division and the PIA management had ignored them.“Just after the incident, the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered the establishment of an investigation team. The team never bothered to interview the family members. On the other hand, rather than paying the insurance amount to the heirs, the families were forced to go from different cities to Chitral, then Islamabad, Havelian and back to collect different documents,” he said. A number of families have provided succession certificates to the PIA but the amount is not being released. The families are suffering as they have lost their breadwinners but it seems some elements are delaying the payment as they are getting profit/ interest on the insurance amount, he alleged.Mr Fahad said those who had received the compensation were forced to submit a declaration that they would not take legal action against the PIA. Barrister Hassaan Khan Niazi on the occasion announced that he would pro-vide legal help to the families. He said the amount of compensation should be in accordance with the international standards.Not only the compensation has not been paid to around 20 families of the victims but the PIA is also not willing to hand over the DNA test reports to the heirs. Rights activist Jibran Nasir said so far 750 passengers had lost their lives in different crashes of PIA planes.“Initially we heard that the crew of PIA was poisoned. After that another rumour started doing the round that one engine of the ATR was out of order. On the other hand, it has become a routine thatinvestigation reports are not made public,” he said. A large number of family members of the victims were present during the press conference. They demanded the government make the investigation report public without further delay.]]>