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Pakistan: Mourning Victims Of Plane Crash

View of #Islamabad crash site

View of #Islamabad crash site from rooftop. Image from Twitpic by Rezhasan

On the morning of July 28, 2010, Airblue flight ED 202 flying from Karachi crashed into the Margalla Hills in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Over 150 passengers were on board at the time of the crash, none of them survived. The tragic incident has left many in shocks and grieves. Investigations to determine the cause of the crash are still underway. While many continue to mourn the tragedy, others are also raising critical questions about the crash.

Kalsoom Lakhani at CHUP-Changing Up Pakistan mourned the tragic incident:

The tragedy of today of course is expressed in the images and videos of the victims’ families and friends, who swarmed the hospital and ticket counters at Islamabad’s airport this morning desperately seeking information about their loved ones. The office of PM Yousaf Raza Gilani said in a statement that the federal cabinet has declared today a “national day of mourning” for the victims of Airblue flight ED202. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives today.

As the investigation continues it is too early to suggest the possible cause of the crash. Recent reports have suggested that the black box has been recovered, which makes the investigation process easier. Kalsoom Lakhani further elaborates on the issues that might hinder investigations:

What exactly is a “black box,” you ask? According to HowStuffWorks, investigators generally turn to the airplane’s flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR) for answers on how the plane crashed. Costing between $10,000 and $15,000 (not sure if Pakistani airlines get similar models), these black boxes reveal details of the events immediately preceding the accident. According to Dawn, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told reporters that this black box has been recovered, so details surrounding the crash will presumably be released soon, (though GEO reports that Pakistan actually lacks the “facility” to decipher these gadgets).

Remembering the victims of the Crash. Maryam Piracha shares her grief:

I am torn between reason and belief, justifying and accepting, reasoning and understanding. There is no easy way to process this, except to pray for the souls of the dead and for the fortitude and patience of those they left behind.

The media coverage of the tragic incident has been heavily criticized. Ahsan Butt of Five rupees, lashed out at the irresponsible coverage of the crash:

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I can watch most Pakistani news channels at most times even sitting in Chicago, but I must confess I turned it all off about 90 seconds after putting it on this morning. “Insensitive” doesn't even begin to cover it.Memo to media organizations: RUNNING AFTER RELATIVES OF PEOPLE JUST KILLED WITH MICROPHONES AND CAMERAS AND BADGERING THEM FOR A QUOTE IS KIND OF A DOUCHEY THING TO DO. For the love of God, stop it. You do this after terrorist attacks and bombings and you do it after natural disasters and now you're doing it after a plane crash. What's wrong with you?

During the media coverage of the crash it appeared that most TV channels were focusing more on marketing the news rather than reporting responsibly. On my own blog, I talked about media's irresponsible and insensitive coverage:

Reporters kept badgering families of the victims for quotes, following and zooming in on faces of people mourning the deaths of their loved ones. Even worse were the images being shown from the crash site, close ups of blood stains and scattered body parts along with debris, while a reporter gloatingly waved travel documents and identity cards from the site. None of these media channels for once thought of the implications of such irresponsible reporting, perhaps the only thing on their mind was to sensationalize the news and develop conspiracy theories. News anchors could not even wait for a few hours before pinning the blame, and within a span of a few hours news coverage of the event turned into aircrash investigations. To make matters worse, one private channel went even further and claimed to disclose the Pilot-to-tower recording, even before any official statement was issued. [..] There is absolutely no justifications for the unethical coverage of  one of the most tragic incidents in Pakistan. Miserable reporting only draws more attention to the need of reinforcing media ethics and to form regulatory bodies monitoring violations.

The tragic incident has drawn attention to the need for a better disaster management and relief system, responsible reporting of such incidents and dire need of specialists and facilities that could help make the investigation process faster. Talking about the aftermath of the tragedy I concluded:

Since reports from the crash are still pouring in, I must refrain from speculating on the reasons of the crash. But what I know now is that 152 people lost their lives in the tragic incident, as a nation in mourning we must stand in solidarity with those who have lost their loved ones, we must avoid speculation and  top feeding on conspiracy theories. If there is one thing that should stand out, it should be the brave impulse of ordinary people who rushed to the scene and volunteered  to help and support  the rescue teams.

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