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PHC verdict induces hope among heirs of PIA crash victims

Shadman Zainul Abideen

It is indeed unfortunate that after a lapse of almost four years into the Islamabad-bound PK-661 crash near Hawalian on December 7, 2016, the families of the 47 victims are yet to know the real cause of the incident.

Although the initial report was released on July 25, 2020, which claimed that the incident took place due to the ill maintenance of the PIA aircraft that caused the engine failure, the complete report is awaited up to this day.

The investigation team had suggested that the national flag-carrier should hold an audit of its airlines and strictly follow the rules regarding aircraft maintenance and be very careful in the future to avoid such mishaps.

Subsequently, the then Member National Assembly (MNA) from Chitral Shahzada Iftikharuddin and Adnan Zainul Abidin, brother of one of the victims of the fateful flight, filed a case through Barrister Shahzada Asad Ul Mulk in Peshawar High Court (PHC) against the PIA on behalf of the families of all the victims, demanding more in-depth and transparent inquiry into the incident. They also pleaded for making the complete investigative report public.

Eventually, the case was decided by the Peshawar High Court (PHC)’s Justice IkramUllah and Jstice Ejaz Anwar.

The ruling has rejected the earlier stance taken by the federal government and PIA, citing section 17 and 21 of the of the 5th schedule of the Carriage by Air Act 2012 and held that the national flag carrier could be held liable for provision of further compensation to the families of the victims as per the international obligation should the report reveals any kind of negligence on part of the PIA.

The court has ordered the national flag carrier to present the report within 45 days.

The verdict is phenomenal, which has induced a new hope among the families of the victims. The petitioners owe gratitude to the concerned judges for the verdict, and at the same time acknowledge the services of Barrister Asad for ably pursuing the case to fruition.

Moreover, the appeal is put forwarded to the federal government and other concerned authorities to implement the court order in letter and spirit, so that, the complete report will be released within the time frame set by the court order, and make certain that justice is served to the aggrieved families without any further delay.

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