–Grieving families struggle to recover the bodies of their loved ones
KARACHI: Days after the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash that claimed 97 lives, the families of the victims are still struggling to recover the bodies of their loved ones.
The ill-fated Airbus A320 crashed near a residential area of Karachi on Friday moments after the pilot informed the control tower that both engines of the plane had stopped working.
While the authorities are currently conducting a probe into the tragic incident, the grieving families are suffering at the hands of government officials who continue to be indifferent to their plight.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, an individual who lost a loved one in the crash said that the lack of coordination between the government departments is adding to their woes. He said that the mourning families would soon release a statement to the media, explaining the trouble they had endured at the hands of government officials.
However, as per Edhi Foundation, the relatives of the deceased passengers have already taken 19 bodies from the morgue, which has created problems in the identification process. The social welfare organisation said that people claimed the bodies of their loved ones based on identification of personal belongings such as jewelry, clothing and identification cards, etc. but considering how the bodies were charred, they may have wrongly identified them.
The government said that bodies of 97 passengers had been recovered from the crash site, however, the authorities are currently trying to identify the passengers.
The Health Ministry recently announced that the bodies of 41 passengers have been handed over to their family members after identification, while the Sindh government announced that DNA tests of unidentified victim’s bodies had also been conducted and they would be handed over to the families within 10 days.
On May 26, the University of Health Sciences (UHS) had requested the families to provide medical and dental records of their loved ones. A special helpline was also formed set up for this purpose, and approximately 21 dental records were sent to them. In addition to this, the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) also collected DNA samples of 52 victims.
Moreover, in a tweet, Adil Rahman, who lost both his father and mother in the tragic incident, said that that the national flag carrier had been unable to develop an appropriate strategy to communicate with the grieving families. As per his tweet, the PIA staff had been calling him multiple times a day, mainly every time a shift changes, and asked him, “Aap ko bodies mil gayi hain?” (Have you received the bodies?), which is both insensitive and unprofessional considering the severity of the loss.
In addition to this, PIA Spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez said on air that Bank of Punjab (BoP) President Zafar Masud, who miraculously survived the plane crash, should help out the victims’ families and should assist the authorities in improving aviation and road safety.
Furthermore, some segments of the media, that retorted to sensationalism to increase their viewership, also received a lot of criticism for flashing the names of passengers on screen, announcing preemptive deaths without confirmation, and for behaving insensitively with the grieving families.