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Judicial commission to probe Bhoja Air crash

Updated July 19, 2013

ISLAMABAD High Court has appointed a judicial commission headed by Justice (Retd) Khalil Ramaday with Captain Usman Younus of PIA as associate member to further probe into the Bhoja Air Crash which occurred on April 20, 2012, killing all 127 persons on board.

The crash though the most tragic in its place has generated exceptional interest.

First the crash was investigated on the orders of the DGCAA; then the matter went to the Peshawar High Court which wanted the investigation redone by foreign experts who I believe did do some investigation at our expense, which was not made public.

Then as an aftermath of this accident quite strangely assets of a company which had nothing to do with the accident were frozen.

Not only that, for inexplicable reasons another unusual step, never in the annals of the aviation history was taken when some officials of Bhoja Air were charged with the murder of the passengers on board the ill fated aircraft with some motive yet to be known (there is never a motiveless crime).

Now we have this judicial commission, headed by a competent and well respected retired Justice of the Supreme Court aided by a retired captain of the PIA to look into the same case.

With due respect to the Islamabad High Court, majority of the terms of reference of the commission could have been dispensed with to save time of the commission.

For example, whether the cockpit crew was qualified, whether the aircraft was airworthy, whether the aircraft and passenger liability insurance was adequate (all these are documented and if these were not so the aircraft would not have been allowed to take off in the first place).

However the most important points of the TOR are to pinpoint cause of the accident (if it is other than the pilot's error) and what remedial steps should be taken to avoid recurrence of such tragedies which is always the prime object of aircraft accident investigation.

I am sure the commission will thoroughly look into these matters for the satisfaction of the air travelling public.

It would be worthwhile if the commission could consider associating some aeronautical experts well versed in aircraft investigation to identify the cause and the remedial steps.

I am not sure under what law, other than the order of the High Court, the commission will exercise “all the powers”. Elaborate law on the subject already exists in Part XV of the Civil Aviation Rules, 1994 which could have been made use of.

S M ANWAR Karachi