ISLAMABAD/KARACHI - ASMA GHANI AND TALHA MAKHDOOM -The government Saturday promised a full investigation into the Bhoja airplane crash that killed all 127 people onboard, saying they were examining all possibilities, from a technical fault to the age of the Boeing 737.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered formation of a judicial commission to probe the crash in a storm that came as the plane approached Islamabad on a flight from Karachi.

President Asif Ali Zardari also called up Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar to inquire about the facilitation to the affectees of the tragedy and asked him to carry out a comprehensive inquiry at the earliest to find reasons leading to the incident so any recurrence of this nature could be avoided.

“Until investigations are completed, we cannot jump to any conclusions” Prime Minister Gilani told media after visiting PIMS, where he came to see the dead bodies and console the relatives. He termed the crash “a great tragedy in the history of Pakistan and said the whole nation shares the grief”.

The government will bear all the expenses for the transportation of bodies and their burial, Gilani assured the relatives of the victims and he directed the hospital authorities to speed up the process of handing over the bodies. The airline is bound to pay compensation to the bereaved families, he said to a question.

The process of identification of the bodies and handing them over to the relatives continued throughout the day at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) while the hospital OPDs remained closed for routine patients. PIMS spokesperson Waseem Khwaja said that as many as 118 bodies had been identified, and of these, 116 bodies were handed to the bereaved families. Grieving relatives who came to collect the bodies and belongings of their loved ones were torn with grief and some of them expressed anger over the tragic happening, while police kept media out of the hospital where the remains were kept.

PIMS Executive Director Mehmood Jamal said the bodies were identified through different ways but most of the bodies were recognised by their relatives by human remains and their belongings such as clothes and jewellery. The relatives of a female victim identified her by henna applied on her hand.

He said National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) teams made the identification process quite easy as they identified the bodies by taking their fingerprints and made available all the relevant data of the victims. The bodies that were beyond recognition would be identified through DNA tests, he said, adding the DNA samples of all the victims were taken when they were brought in and those would be matched with their relatives’ samples for identification.

Spokesperson Waseem Khwaja said the samples of the family member of four victims were taken on Saturday for identification and the human parts that were beyond identification were handed over to the city administration to keep them in cold storage until the process of identification completes. He said the identification through DNA tests takes 8 to 10 days.

Pakistan Baitul Maal, Al-Khidmat Foundation, and Muttahida Quami Movement’s (MQM) Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation had set up camps inside the hospital to help the patients. PBM served the food to the relatives of the victims and distributed checks of Rs60,000 to the relatives on the production of death certificates. Al-Khidmat Foundation also distributed food among the relatives and provided ambulance service to the relatives.

The bodies of the victims belonging to nearby areas including Rawalpindi, Dera Ismail Khan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir were sent by road. The ambulance services helped the relatives to take the bodies to their cities.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Amir Ali Ahmed told TheNation that PBM and Bhoja Airline made arrangements for moving the bodies to their respective destinations through ambulances and flights. He said 11 bodies could not be identified that has been kept in cold storage of Sector I-10.

Earlier, a large number of relatives arrived at the airport from Karachi through a special PIA flight to identify and receive their loved ones. Dr Farooq Sattar of MQM also arrived with the relatives of the victims.

Bodies of 33 out of 100 victims of Bohja air crash hailing form Karachi and other nearby areas reached at Quaid-e-Azam Airport on Saturday. The first flight PK-309 carrying six bodies of victims namely Imran Waheed, Rao Muhammad Irfan, Tasneem Begum, Raza Ali Khan, Abbas Ali Somroo and Chand Babu reached at around 1pm. The victim Imran and Rao Irfan were business partners and were the residents of North Nazimabad while Tasneem was Imran’s aunt who resided in Malir. Deceased Raza, a resident of Gulshan-e-Iqbal block 10, was laid to rest at Wadi-e-Hussain graveyard. The body of Abbas, a trader from Badin, was sent to his hometown. Funeral prayers of Chand were offered near his residence in Model Colony.

The second flight PK-369 landed at Karachi airport at around 5:30pm with ten more bodies of victims: newly-wedded couple Sajjad and Saniya Rizvi, Javeed Iqbal, Syed Umar Ali, Qari Abdur Rehman, Musarat Shaheen, Irfan Ali, an infant Rehan Ali, Mustafa Sayal and retired Brigadier Anwar Ali Khan.

The bodies of Altamash (a scrap vendor), Ghazala Malik, Rafique Bhatti, Amir Akram, Zubaida Fareed, Shaheen Bano, Nizamuddin and Muhammad Rafiq were brought in by Bhoja Air flight B-216. Bodies of deceased Muhammad Sohail, Farooq Ahmad, an airhostess Sanam, Muhammad Adil Khan, Azizur Rehman, Nihal Alvi, Farah Sajid, Rasheed, Habib ur Rehman, Tanveer and his wife Sadaf Nasreen were brought in by PK-309 at 9pm.

Families of the victims along the workers of different welfare organisations thronged the airport to receive the bodies of their love ones. Witnesses said that authorities were unable to manage the arrival of bodies due to the rush and workers of different welfare organisations vied with each other to collect the bodies.

The body of retired Brigadier Anwar Ali Khan, a resident of DHA, went missing. His family was told by the officials at the cargo terminal that the body had been handed over to a welfare organisation. The cargo officials then contacted and retrieved the body from that organisation and handed it over to his heirs.

As tragedy unfolds, stress is on probe