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Petition against Bhoja Air

September 26, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Sept 25: The millions of rupees compensation to the families of 127 deceased passengers of the ill-fated Bhoja airlines may not absolve its owners from the case, as the aggrieved families approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for reinvestigation of the matter and to fix responsibility for the April 20 crash.

In the petition filed in the IHC, the aggrieved families also challenged the process of making compensation of Rs5 million on certain conditions according to which they were compelled to withdraw litigation and not to go into litigation against the government departments and companies including Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Bhoja Airlines and its contractors in connection with the April 20 crash.

Sardar Kainaaf Hussain, who lost his mother and son in the air crash told Dawn that Rs5 million is not the compensation but this is the insurance of the passengers which would be paid by the insurance company not by Bhoja Airlines.

He said the airline company is forcing the aggrieved families to sign an affidavit according to which they could not go into litigation in the future against any of the 40 companies, including the airline, its contractors and other stakeholders.

Senior lawyer Ramzan Khan, when contacted said that signing such affidavits from the aggrieved families is tantamount to denying them their fundamental rights.

Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday, after a preliminary hearing of the petition issued notices to a number of ministries, government departments and the owner of Bhoja Airlines.

The petitioners — 8 aggrieved families of the ill-fated Bhoja plane — which crashed on April 20, 2012, while 127 passengers and crew members were on board, cited secretary defence, interior, information, broadcasting and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Capital Development Authority (CDA), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), Inspector General of Police Islamabad.

Farooq Bhoja, chairman Bhoja Air and Arshad Jalil, managing director Bhoja Air as respondents.

Omar Farooq Adam, the counsel of the petitioners adopted before the court that the Bhoja air crash was one of the biggest aviation related tragedy, since the Cairo air crash of 1965.

It is the 5th air crash in Pakistani history, which killed 127 people on board.

He claimed that the investigation of Bhoja air was initiated by director general CAA to hide the actual facts and to mislead the nation and to protect the persons responsible for the crash.

He requested the court for direction to the federal government to constitute an independent board of inquiry to determine and publish the causes that led to the crash.

He said that an independent inquiry is necessary as its findings would disclose that the crash occurred due to human error or equipment failure.

Meanwhile, IHC Justice Mohammad Azim Khan Afridi also disposed of the petition of Alamdar Hussain Malik deputy financial advisor (DFA) ministry of finance with a direction to the secretaries inter provincial coordination (IPC) and livestock and dairy development to decide the representation of Mr Malik in a month.

DFA Malik in his petition contended that officials of establishment and cabinet division provided undue and illegal cover to a contract employee Imran Iqbal, assistant director Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council and forged the documents for the regularisation of his service.

He said that the authorities during an inquiry in the said matter wanted to make the petitioner an escape goat and exonerate influential persons.