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A sense of déjà vu

Published Apr 20, 2012 06:49pm


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Qamar (R), an uncle of a newly married couple who are victims of the Bhoja Air airliner crash, is consoled by a Civil Aviation Authority official at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi April 20, 2012. Sajjad, 27, and his wife Sania, 22, were traveling to Islamabad from Karachi on their honeymoon. -Reuters Photo

As these words are being written the whole country, as well as people from around the world, are watching or hearing the news of the terrible plane crash near Chaklala airbase. When one works in the news business sadly you tend to get to read many tragic stories. A constant barrage of bad news tends to immune a person from feeling anything. However this disaster has really pulled my legs out from underneath me. A close relative of mine was going to arrive in Karachi tonight on a flight as well and it’s only in a situation such as this that you realise how real this tragedy is.

I may not have been directly affected by the plane crash, but sadly many people tonight will be. One can only imagine the horror relatives of the deceased must be going through. Their world will have collapsed around them and their trauma has only just begun. What makes it worse is that this calamity is also a national tragedy which is being broadcast live on people’s television screens.

At a time like this it is very important that the media plays a responsible role in covering this accident and snub out any urge to sensationalise the story. The Airblue crash in 2010 is still fresh in the public conscience, especially how news organisations ramped up the rhetoric, whether in news content or television images of the plane crash.

Many will remember that after the Airblue crash occurred, the media hounded relatives of the deceased with television cameras and questions as to what they were feeling. Even when bodies were being returned to loved ones, it was shameful to see people from the press swarm traumatised family members. I remember one incident from the 2010 crash in which bodies had been brought back to Karachi for burial, and cameramen were literally falling on top of each other to get a shot of the bodies being loaded into ambulances.

One question that now needs to be asked is to whether anything will come out of the Bhoja air crash and the inquiry that will be set up to investigate it. Over 20 months have passed since the Airblue crash and still nothing has happened to give closure to that accident. Going on precedents and the pattern of previous events, the same thing will happen now. No heads will roll, no one will be held accountable. We have seen this bad movie before and know what the ending will be like.

One needs to also find out whether this accident was because of a technical fault or simply due to the bad weather. Reports suggest that the plane crashed while it was in flames and that lightning may have struck the aircraft while it was in flight. The situation seems very fluid at this time, but pray that a clearer picture does eventually come out of it. The people of Pakistan have had to deal with many problems on a number of issues in the past few years. Let us not add aviation safety and worries about loved ones returning from a safe flight to that list as well.

Let us also pray that all the institutions of state will now make a collective effort to hold a proper inquiry into the plane crash. Hopefully they will set a precedent that will not only be satisfactory to all but will also be made public.

Raza Ali Sayeed is a journalist at


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Comments (51) Closed

Muhammad Faisal Apr 20, 2012 11:59pm
Our condolences for victims's families
Ahmed Apr 21, 2012 12:13am
May Allah have mercy on their souls. The Paki media is horrible, who shows dismembered bodies on TV?
DFM Apr 21, 2012 12:17am
And they are doing it again....the media is going to the victims homes and talking to the family members. It's disgusting to see such irresponsible reporting....this is certainly no time to be conducting interviews on the devastated family members.
nini Apr 22, 2012 09:42pm
Usman , I did not say that Sunni are killing Shai , so this is not a secetarian comment rather that we all are human being and that a lose of a life is hurtful regardless whether u are a muslim or a non-muslim
nini Apr 21, 2012 12:50am
When more than 200+ shia where killed in Pakistan and there eye gouged out and there skulls crushed almost 2 weeks back no one cared to even report these atrocities. This is the Irony , Human Life is the Same on a plane or on the ground. Its jUST hurts An Atheist Pakistani who had enough OF PAKISTAN
miramshah Apr 21, 2012 01:46am
My prayers are with the deceased and their families. Its yet another major disaster to have hit the nation and Zardari's PP's unending party. The plane was purchased from Shaheen Air when it was considered unworthy for flying. The owners of Bhoja must be held responsible simply based on this fact alone and must pay the price. One more noteworthy issue: I read the belligerent Indians/ Neocon Hindus celebrating Agni V 's launch. They are conspicuously missing in their condolences at this tragedy. To them and their 'Muslim' friends at Dawn, your cowardice will be remembered. No need for croc tears now.
Ad Apr 21, 2012 02:43am
If you've had enough of Pakistan, then don't even bother commenting on Pakistani news websites. We know human life is same everywhere..but if someone is expressing his grief on this tragedy, you don't need to snub it! Your comment is not helping anyone.
edgepk Apr 21, 2012 03:20am
pls stop your racism right now we do not need derogatory analysis now..
edgepk Apr 21, 2012 03:21am
if you had enough of Pakistan then pls migrate elsewhere
Adil Jadoon Apr 21, 2012 03:22am
No one said the events in Gilgit were not a crime and those responsible should be punished but lets not blame the religion for the crimes of those who CLAIM to profess it.
Adil Jadoon Apr 21, 2012 03:23am
We need to have a code of conduct for the Media and it is a shame that the police can't get there to keep people from swarming the place but them police in Pakistan are INCOMPETENT and corrupt.
Amjad Wyne Apr 21, 2012 03:28am
Nini, next time when you hear about the Shia tragedy (or for that matter any other horrible act) - and indeed I am horrified to hear what you told in your post - please make an effort to write a letter and condemn it as strongly as you can. Staying quiet and hoping others will speak makes no sense.
Mukesh Apr 21, 2012 03:39am
Dear Miramshah I am Mukesh patel from India. Upon hearing the sad news, I prayed the god for innocent passangers. Don't blame India and hindus. We know what will be happening to their beloved relatives. Please stay away for such comments.Be a human. Thanks
arshad Apr 21, 2012 03:46am
God may bless the departed souls,and give courage to the brefied families,to bear this great loss
Arif Jan Apr 21, 2012 03:50am
Corruption has gotten institutionalized in Pakistan, accountability is missing and inept people run the show. When such gross mismanagement is rampant in a country, who and how will you ever find answers to Air Blue and now this disaster?
AFTAB Apr 21, 2012 04:21am
when a child born, you know what he does the first thing, he weeps and asks Almighty Allah why you sending me to this cruel place. Why the permission of landing despite severe weather which developing CB clouds was given. This is the main question which reveals man made mistake. May Allah give eternal peace and tranquility to the departed souls and give courage to the bereaved families to bear this irreparable loss. Aameen.
Am Apr 21, 2012 04:32am
I am a hindu and my heartfelt condolences to the people of Pakistan. (Please don't generalize. Religion has no place when such a calamity strikes)
Gusman ibma Apr 21, 2012 05:00am
Answer for Miramshah india tested the rocket 2 days before. This accident happened yesterday. How it is there responcible? Air accident is disaster for all. The people who lost are innocent . May god bless all and their souls.
Ansar Apr 21, 2012 05:45am
May Allah have mercy on their souls and accept them in the highest heavens. Ameen.
Lalajeee Apr 21, 2012 07:15am
My heart cries for the beloved fathers, mothers, daughters,sons, brothers and sisters who have perished in this tragedy. May Allah grant them all forgiveness and the best place in jannat.
Rakesh Apr 21, 2012 08:48am
Very sorry to learn the tragedy of this air crash. It is during these sad moments that nations should stand shoulder to shoulder to support each other. Heart felt condolence from our family to the loved ones left behind. May God give peace to the departed souls. We'll pray for all those innocent people who lost their lives and we stand by you during this difficult times, no matter what.
Ajaya K Dutt Apr 21, 2012 09:02am
Agni V launch was 2 days ago and they had reason to celebrate. "Belligerent" Indians and "Neocon" Hindus (just calling them Hindu should be derogatory enough, but thanks for the suffix, it makes clear about your intentions); are not Pakistani Jihadis; so when they express their soliderity, they mean it. Inspite of your hatefull comments, my ( and I am a Hindu to the core), I share the pain and anguish of those who lost most dear one.
Omar Apr 21, 2012 09:15am
care to reply the link for the "alleged" atrocity. I know Pakistan is not very tolerant against minority rights but let's not over dramatize and sensationalize news.
javed Apr 21, 2012 09:18am
No one in Pakistan cares. zardari/Gilani clan is busy looting while U and I are trying to survive another day. Shame on US for letting this go on.
Vishal Apr 21, 2012 04:19am
I felt shivering in my body when I came to know about the incidence. God bless their souls and give the courage to their families..
Usman Chaudhri Apr 21, 2012 09:35am
my condolences with those who lost their loved one's. May Allah rest their soul in peace.
chakraborty Apr 21, 2012 09:36am
During Kandahar Hijack in which Maulana Masood Azhar was released by India in exchange of passengers a Newly wed Man Rupin Katyal was killed. My Heart is crying for Sajjad as it felt when Rupin was killed. I hope everybody feels the pain for everyone.
Usman Chaudhri Apr 21, 2012 09:50am
nina, this is very tragic. So sorry for this, but we all have to stand-up against this. Sectarian violence, groups fighting with each other, it has destroyed our country. Never say enough, we all are born for a reason, so let's all be strong.
AZ Apr 21, 2012 10:03am
It wouldn't have served the medias purpose to show that over 200 shias being killed cruelly and their videos being made. Hundreds more are dieing every month and no one condsider it as a loss. Agony for those who died in vain and no one raised a voice for them. But nontheless, plane crash is a nation loss and we mourn it with deepest sorrow as it included 130 human beings and that too Pakistanis.
JAVEED Apr 21, 2012 05:29am
It is really tragic & Indeed a sad day for the nation. My condolences for the families of victims. Really heartbreaking, I don't know what else to write........
Muhammad Waqar Apr 21, 2012 11:10am
and Ironically this piece was written by Shia also....So a human loss is a loss whether it is shia, sunni or from any other religion...Please don't bring sects in this....
ashok Apr 21, 2012 06:11am
I do not see why marianshah is mixing two different issues of Agni 5 launch and Bhoja air crash. Innocent deaths in accidents deeply pain all persons wether hindu, muslim christians or jews. No person in the world would say " I celebrate death in Pakistan". I am a hindu from India and have been looking at TV news with deep regrets and anguish in my heart. I offer my condoloences to all the family members of the air crsh victims and pray that such a accident does not occur anywhere in the world. Dr Ashok Mewara
Aamir Apr 21, 2012 11:28am
I can see some comments fueling sectarianism. Is this the right time to discuss this?? We are talking about human life here...not discrimination.
summan Apr 21, 2012 11:34am
Nikle thy hun to ghar se azizon k dais ko, manzil k pass aa k safeena ujarh gaya, dedicated 2 all victim's of this air crash, may all rest in peace(ameen)
Murtaza Apr 21, 2012 11:38am
A very Tragic incident happened once again in the history of Pakistan....i really don`t understand that when Shaheen Airways had grounded this jet then why did Bhoja Air started it back?
anoop mehrotra Apr 21, 2012 11:57am
First of all our condolences to the breaved families and the pakistani nation,remember our PM was the first one to have sent in the condolences on his and the country's behalf.Now,what sort of colliory are you drawing between an air crash grief and the celebration on the launch of a missile,this sort of thaught is sickening. mind like you can even think of drawing any relation between the two expressions.
S Ravindran Apr 21, 2012 12:03pm
R.I.P. to all the passengers.. May god give some strength to the families of victims I really went on tear on seeing this news.. /S Ravindran India/
Aftab Apr 21, 2012 12:07pm
My prayers are with the deceased and their families
Anikka Apr 21, 2012 12:09pm
What a low comment!!
anantha Apr 21, 2012 12:22pm
rest on peace, I pray to good god to give ever lasting peace to the departed soul. My heart felt condolences to the bereaved family
FAISAL SAGHIR Apr 21, 2012 12:34pm
May Allah Keep their souls in peace, and grant courage to the families of the victims to bear such painful tragedy. May Allah forgive us and save us and our families.
Sami Apr 21, 2012 12:36pm
Dear Mukesh and everyone else from india, Thank you for your kind words. Please ignore such comments, some people are just s*****. miramshah, get a life. Regards from Pakistan.
Sami Apr 21, 2012 12:37pm
Thank anoop mehrotra, Ajaya K Dutt and everyone. From Pakistan.
S Ravindran Apr 21, 2012 01:18pm
People of you are misleading the people of two nations thro your words.. Stop Nonsense.. Try to behave like human beings.. Come to India. Learn about peace in all the Hindu oriented institutions( except RSS).. we are not teaching bad to our children.. Whenever pakistan is in trouble with either with militants or with USA.. we feel sad.. Don't under estimate the patience of Indians.. /My sincere advice to my brother miram shah /S Ravindran India
shanu Apr 21, 2012 01:46pm
May their soul rest in peace n Allah accept dm in d Highest Heaven. Ameeeeeeeeeeeen
Ali Apr 21, 2012 02:23pm
this person is just a ignorant man, we have them on both sides of the border. its just sad to see 5 generations of Indians and Pakistanis growing up learning how to say "baba" , "mama" and "India is our enemy" (or Pakistan is our enemy if the kid is Indian). The funny thing is that when such people outside their countries, to europe or north america they become close friends, but as soon as they land back home everything changes. I am a patriotic Pakistani but that doesnt mean that I hate India or Hindus or Jews etc etc. I understand that in a world that is so interconnected, there is no room for hatred and now, finally after 5 generations a new generation has spawned within our countries that may actually give peace and meaningful talks a chance thank you for all your condolences, it truely does mean a lot too every single Pakistani, even though there are a few cowards who wont accept that publicaly
Ali from Lahore/Lond Apr 21, 2012 02:32pm
I apologise to my all Indian friends on behalf of mimramsah who commented on Indian missile and linked it to the tragedy. I don’t understand what has happened to our nations. After living 100 of years together we are still apart. Blame goes to politicians and extremists in both nations. I thank you of our all Indians friends and their feelings at this moment of time. May Allah rest their (victims) soul in peace and accept our prayers.
Ayaz Abbasi Apr 21, 2012 02:34pm
Miramshah, its a human loss before Pakistan's loss, and all the prayers coming in from indian brothers and sisters are appreciated!
Ali from Lahore/Lond Apr 21, 2012 02:36pm
I apologise to my all Indian friends on behalf of mimramsah who commented on Indian missile and linked it to the tragedy. I don’t understand what has happened to our nations. After living 100 of years together we are still apart. Blame goes to politicians and extremists in both nations. I thank you of our all Indians friends and their feelings at this moment of time. May Allah rest their soul in peace and accept our prayers.
Rohit Apr 21, 2012 04:21pm
Thanks, Im Indian too and would just like to say my thoughts and many of my friends prayers are with you, your country and your people in these extremely anguishing times.
B Rex Apr 21, 2012 05:54pm
You are an example of who can see and spread hatred in everything, including in this tragic times... grow up and get a life...