By Asma Ghani
ISLAMABAD: Relatives of those who perished in the PK661 crash are growing restless over the long wait in the identification and handing over of the remains of their loved ones.
The PIA plane crashed into a hillside after one of its two turboprop engines reportedly failed while travelling from Chitral to the federal capital, and burst into flames, killing everyone on board.
The process of forensic odontology is still under way alongside DNA testing that may help in the early identification of the victims.
The families of the plane crash victims, especially from Chitral, were quite furious over ‘discriminatory’ treatment meted out to them that, according to them, had been delaying the identification of their loved ones.
“The people of Chitral are depressed because they have been treated differently,” said Shah Fahad, the brother of a victim.
“Apart from the Chitral deputy commissioner and his family, and Junaid Jamshed, there were many educated people in the plane who were serving their country,” he complained.
“We are told that 30 bodies have been identified whose funeral prayers will be offered at Pims and the prime minister will also join the prayers. The relatives of the deceased telephoned their hometowns and gathered at the hospital, but after a whole day only a few bodies are handed over and hardly anyone of them is from Chitral.”
Ali Nawab, the relative of another victim, complained that there were 19 passengers from Chitral on board the ill-fated plane but only three of them had been identified so far.
“Today, we are told that 30 bodies have been identified but only of them is from Chitral,” he asked.
Officials at Pims said 17 more bodies, including the body of Junaid Jamshed, were identified on Wednesday, taking the total figure to 29.
Five bodies have been handed over to the heirs while the rest are stored in hospital mortuaries.
Meanwhile, the remains of Junaid Jamshed have been handed over to his brother Humayun Jamshed.
The body was directly shifted from the cold storage to the Chaklala airbase from where it was flown to Karachi. His funeral prayers will be held on Thursday at the Moin Khan Cricket stadium in DHA Phase 8 after Zuhr prayers at 2pm. (With additional input from Sheharyar Ali in Karachi)
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2016.