On July 28 it was two years since the tragic plane crash of Airblue flight 202 in the Margalla Hills, Islamabad, in which my young son also died. The families of the victims of the crash have yet to be afforded an appropriate closure as the anguish and the agony of suspense as to what was the truth continues. They wake up every morning and remember someone on the plane who is no longer here. Even after almost two years, time does not matter. But knowing what caused the crash does. The families of the victims of the Bhoja Air plane crash of flight 213 in April 2012 also continue to suffer in silence.

According to experts (Kubler- Ross model), there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance: which are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the ones that we lost. The model is not a linear timeline in grief and the suffering families of both the plane crashes continue to hopscotch between the stages. In case of the Airblue crash a truncated and misleading report saw the light of the day only after a long and legal battle. The honourable Peshawar High Court termed the report incomplete and inconclusive and full of errors.

The report neither has evidence of any claim nor carries any annexure of transcripts of vital evidence as recordings of the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Black Box. The honourable PHC has to be commended for admirable courage and professionalism. By comparison, in case of the Air France flight 447, which crashed in the Pacific Ocean over two years ago killing all 228 people on board, the black box was found from the deep sea bed after a search spanning 23 months and costing about $40 million. Subsequently, the relatives of victims were gathered and briefed about the exact reasons for the crash. Whatever the reasons for the Airblue and Bhoja plane crashes, the relatives of the victims deserve to know the truth. So do the people of Pakistan.

Aviation safety can only be served by the truth. Not by fantasy or imaginary reports or speculation. And not by cover-ups. Unless the truth is known and appropriate measures taken for air safety, such disasters will happen again and again. Both these plane crashes should be lessons in safety, though very expensive lessons.


Karachi, August 2.