–Sajjad Gul’s father says does not have ‘an ounce of faith’ in inquiry conducted by ‘untrustworthy people’
–Interior minister says fair probe will be carried out as per PM Imran’s instruction
LAHORE: The federal government on Tuesday sought to assure the family of the deceased Pakistan International Airline (PIA) pilot Sajjad Gul of a transparent probe into the incident, a day after the pilot’s father said that he does not have “an ounce of faith” in the airline’s inquiry into the tragic plane crash which left 97 dead.
During a condolence visit to Gul’s residence, Federal Minister for Interior Affairs Brigadier (r) Ijaz Ahmad Shah told the deceased pilot’s father, Gul Muhammad Bhatti that a transparent investigation will be conducted into the PIA aircraft’s crash as per the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“The country lost national assets in the form of precious lives in the plane crash,” he said. “Death of Captain Sajjad Gul is a major loss not only to the PIA but the entire country,” he said.
The minister also asked Gul Bhatti to refrain from making media statements regarding the probe.
On Monday, while addressing reporters alongside Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Bhatti said it “pains him to say that the PIA’s top hierarchy itself is leaking bits of the inquiry report and blaming people left and right for negligence”.
He said that they (PIA) are “not trustworthy people” and are “not fit to conduct an inquiry”.
“Those people are not professional and are not good people.
“Just one day prior you called him a national hero.
“He has logged in 17,000 hours. He is the only pilot to have completed 1,000 hours in a year […] he is a thorough professional,” said the aggrieved father.
Bhatti said that he has faith, however, in the assurances given by the governor who has said he “stands with him” and in the prime minister.
He said no remarks must be made until the black box’s contents come forward and he will comment “if justice is not done”.
“I have known the family for a long time […] Sajjad Gul was a skilled man who worked with honesty,” said Sarwar, in his briefing to the media.
The governor said the deceased pilot would also lend a helping hand to those in need even with limited resources.
Sarwar promised that the inquiry will be “neutral” and no one will be spared the consequences they must pay.
The governor lauded the father for his patience at this difficult time. He said the family is going through a tough time. Three of Gul’s brothers are in Glasgow and could not be there for the funeral due to the coronavirus.
He said the father has been assured that the inquiry will be personally overseen by the prime minister.
Sarwar said that the family has demanded that justice be carried out and the truth be given to the people.
A day prior, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had promised a transparent inquiry within three months.
The minister said he and PIA CEO Arshad Malik are ready to present themselves for accountability if the inquiry team found the aviation ministry responsible for the incident.
The inquiry board had started its work, he said, adding: “team of experts from Airbus, Germany and France will also join the probe.” “We will try to complete it [probe] within three months,” said the minister.
The day of the crash, the government had formed a probe team headed by Air Commodore Muhammad Usman Ghani, President of the Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board. He will be assisted by Wing Commander Malik Muhammad Imran, Additional Director of Technical Investigation; Group Captain Touqeer, Ops Investigator, Pakistan Air Force Safety Board, Kamra; and Nasir Majeed, Joint Director of ATC Ops, AAIB.
Meanwhile, an 11-member investigating team of Airbus reached Pakistan from France to probe into the PIA plane crash.
The specialists visited the plane crash site area in Model Colony and also provided technical assistance to their Pakistani counterparts to probe the reasons for the crash.