The Aviation Minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, has handed over the initial report of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash in Karachi last month to Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan and the findings within reportedly reveal how all the institutions concerned displayed negligence in the performance of their duties. It pins the blame on both the air traffic control (ATC) officials and the flight crew. The document also counters earlier claims of PIA and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which they made against each other to absolve themselves of any blame. According to the initial findings, the officials of both institutions are at fault and the back and forth is ultimately pointless.

Targeting and scapegoating individuals involved will not solve the larger issues that Pakistan’s aviation industry is facing. Perhaps, the higher-ups must stop the standard procedure of accountability; firing some staff members whenever a tragedy happens. This ‘head must roll’ approach has not worked before and there is no evidence to suggest it will suddenly prove to be effective. A crash of this magnitude should become that watershed moment where both PIA and CAA decide that the current modus operandi needs to change, for effective service delivery and safety.

Hopefully, the government will take action against now that the report is out. However, the document is also a testament to institutional lapses in the aviation industry and beyond. Systemic issues such as the lack of training and treating rules and procedures with offhand carelessness are both avoidable, and the main reason behind the death of the plane crash victims. And this is exactly where our focus must lie, to improve on foundations instead of looking for quick fixes.