One feels shocked at the most tragic accident of Bhoja Air plane at Rawalpindi on April 20 in which 127 people perished. After the untold grief subsides a little, the inevitable question will be: how did this happen? It may be recalled that the families affected by the Airblue crash and the travelling public are still asking the same question and the inquiry held into the crash is yet to see the light. This should not happen again. I understand that the director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority has ordered an inquiry into the accident and detailed one of its officers to do it. The officer may be competent in his own right but the enormity of the tragedy demands that the federal government should order a board of accident inquiry, headed by a serving or retired judge of the Supreme Court, to evoke confidence in the fairness of the inquiry.
Provision of such an inquiry already exists under Rule 282 of the Civil Aviation Rules 1994. After all, what does this rule exist for if it cannot be invoked in such disasters? Another reason for ensuring fairness is that the director general of the Civil Aviation Authority, whether he likes it or not, is himself an interested party because it is his job to see that a Pakistani commercial aircraft is airworthy in all respects before it takes off, the pilot is fully competent to fly it and the ATC and navigation facilities are perfect. The reason being that unless the pilot is solely to blame, the regulatory authority may not escape
the responsibility. It is too much too expect that the CAA director general’s own officers will find fault with him.
S. M. ANWAR,
Karachi, April 24.