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Relatives wait for bodies of loved ones

Pakistan army troops and rescue workers search for bodies at the site of a plane crash, in a village near the town of Havelian, about 75 kilometers (45 miles) northwest of the capital, Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. Pakistan's national carrier says one of its planes has crashed shortly after takeoff from the northern city of Chitral with 48 people aboard. A spokesman for Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority said Wednesday that the cause of the crash was unclear and there was believed to be little chance of finding survivors. (AP Photo/Aqeel Ahmed)

ISLAMABAD: Relatives of the passengers on board PK-661, the Pakistan International Airlines flight which crashed in Havelian en route from Chitral to Islamabad on Dec 7, are still waiting for the bodies of their loved ones to be identified and handed over to them.

Wali Khan, a relative of Salman Zainul Abideen who was on board the doomed flight, told Dawn that a family can only get over the shock of a loved one’s death after they have buried a body.

“Waiting for the bodies is even more painful. The uncertainty has taken a toll on all of us,” he added.

The family of Atif Mehmood, a Civil Aviation Authority employee on board the plane, have also been faced with a similar situation.

His cousin Jawad Ullah said the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) administration took blood samples from Atif’s brother and that the body has not yet been handed over.

“We have dug out a grave in our village near Abbotabad and have been coming to the hospital everyday for the body,” he said.

Families are also worrying that human error could lead to the wrong body being handed over to them.

However, Pims Administrator Dr Altaf Hussein said it will be ensured that there is no negligence on the part of Pims.

So far, 13 bodies have been identified and 11 have been handed over.

“We have used legal, medical methods for identifying the bodies, not one of which could be identified from the face.

We also called in the dental history or lab tests of the victims, which was how we identified Junaid Jamshed and his wife,” he added.

The Austrian victim of the crash, Herwig Eichelbenger was identified as he had an implant in the knee.

“There was proof that he had an implant in the knee, but we collected the model number of the steel plate and asked the manufacturing company if they sold it to the victim,” Dr Hussein said.

“Eichelbenger’s and Junaid Jamshed’s bodies have not been collected yet. The DNA tests will be received after which all identified bodies will be handed over to their families,” he added.

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About TAUQEER RIAZ Utmanzai (1796 Articles)
Broadcast Engineer/Journalist/Columnist and Social activist. --------------------------------------------- Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tauqeerriaz On FB:www.facebook.com/tauqeerkhanutmanzai.
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