Grieving relatives remember victims on eve of Eid

Updated 24 May, 2020

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Rescue workers gather at the site of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi on May 22. — Reuters/File
Rescue workers gather at the site of a passenger plane crash in a residential area near an airport in Karachi on May 22. — Reuters/File

KARACHI: As the death toll from the plane crash was confirmed on Saturday, many of the grieving family members spent the day running between mortuaries and hospitals in search of the bodies of their loved ones who had travelled by the ill-fated PIA flight on Friday.

Among the victims was Major Shehryar Fazal who accompanied his wife Maha Shehryar and their two kids Ilsa and Rayyan.

The funeral prayers of the family were offered in Bahadurabad area, which were attended by a large number of people. Another family which met the same end was of Zain Polani, a senior banker who had gone to Lahore to bring his wife and three sons, who had come from UK to Lahore, to Karachi.

Also read: Survivor recalls horror of Karachi plane crash that killed 97

“The whole family died in plane crash. Sarah working in IBA. Her husband Zain Polani was working in Standard chartered. Three handsome boys. Completely heartbroken. How can we celebrate Eid after this?” a family friend tweeted with a photo of the victim’s family.

Another family was of Danish Altaf, who along with his wife and two kids, died in the plane crash.

Entire families among the deceased; large number of people attend funeral prayers

Senior journalist Syed Ansar Naqvi was also among the passengers of the fateful flight. With over three-decade experience, Mr Naqvi was last associated with 24 News as its director programming. Ansar Naqvi was one of the fine journalists Hyderabad ever produced.

Having started his career from Hyderabad-based newspaper, Daily Safeer, he later joined The News in early 90s as its first reporter for Hyderabad. With his 12 years long association with this English daily, he decided to become part of Geo Television Network when it was launched in early 2000. He then moved to Karachi and remained associated with Geo for around 13 years.

Among the victims was also Phiruzi Ogra, senior faculty member of the Karachi American School.

Other officers of the Pakistan Army onboard included Capt Ahmed Mujtaba, Lt Shaheer, Lt Balach Khan Bugti, and Lt Hamza Yousuf.

Actress and model Zara Abid was also onboard. “Words defy me, Zara Abid a great loss of our industry with whom we had a great working rapport. She was a very nice human being & a thorough professional who has worked hard to reach the place she had,” tweeted renowned fashion designer, Asim Jofa.

A senior officer of Pakistan Administrative Service, Khalid Sherdil, was also among the passengers of the ill-fated plane. Mr Khalid was son of senior bureaucrat A. Z. K. Sherdil. He had also served as Director General for the Punjab Disaster Management Authority.

Dr Yasmeen Akbani was one of the victims as well. Her colleagues said that she was a senior pediatrician and after retirement from KMC was offering voluntary service in clinics in Kachi Abadis of the city. She was also a senior member of the executive committee of Child Aid Association.

“Her husband is a retired engineer from Sui Southern. Her father was chief medical officer of Karachi Municipality at the time of independence,” one of her friends remembered her over social media. “She was such a nice lady with lively personality working with great dedication for the cause of childhood cancer and always got inspired by her devotion.”

Among crew members of the PIA plane PK-8303, Captain Sajjad Gul had an experience of 24-year in the airline industry with more than 17,000 hours of flying experience. He was the resident of DHA Lahore and left behind a widow and four children.

His colleagues in the flight included first officer Usman Azam, cabin crew chief purser Fareed Ahmed Chaudary, flight stewards Abdul Qayyum Ashraf and Malik Irfan Rafiq, air hostesses Amna Irfan, Asma Shahzadi, and Amna Masood.

Additional reporting by Mohammad Hussain Khan from Hyderabad

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2020