PESHAWAR, Nov 14: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Civil Aviation Authority for explanation on the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s recommendation for declaring the Safety Investigation Board of CAA fully autonomous.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Irshad Qaiser observed that CAA should explain why SIB should not be made fully autonomous so that it should not be under control and influence of any bureaucrat or the government.
Senior legal adviser to CAA Obaidur Rehman Abbasi said the Defence Ministry had already been working on legislation to make SIB of Civil Aviation Authority autonomous in accordance with the recommendation given by ICAO in its report regarding the 2010 Airblue plane crash, which had left all 152 people on board killed.
He said the report of ICAO had already been submitted to the court and the government, including CAA and the Defence Ministry, had been working on implementation of its recommendations.
Mr Abbasi said ICAO had recommended that CAA consider expediting the legislation process addressing the independence of the accident/incident investigation authority in Pakistan.
He said the Defence Ministry had already been working to do legislation in this regard as presently the SIB was part of CAA and was mentioned in the CAA Ordinance.
The bench was hearing a writ petition filed by former MNA Marvi Memon and family members of some of the passengers of the ill-fated plane which crashed on Jul 28, 2010.
They have prayed the court to order independent inquiry into the crash and provision of appropriate compensation to the bereaved families.
The re-investigation was conducted on the order of the high court. The court had earlier expressed dissatisfaction over the previous inquiry conducted by the Safety Investigation Board of CAA wherein the errors by the pilot and inclement weather were held responsible for the air crash.Abdul Lateef Yousafzai, lawyer for Airblue management, said they had filed two petitions before the Supreme Court one of which was related to the jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court regarding the Airblue plane crash as it had taken place in Islamabad.When the bench asked Mr Yousafzai he had never raised the objection before the high court, he replied that in his comments, he had questioned the jurisdiction of the high court.
He, however, hastened to add that Airblue implemented all the court’s orders, but the families of the dead passengers were the first to file suits with the Islamabad High Court, while the present petition was pending with PHC.
Mr Yousafzai said Airblue had so far paid compensation to 120 families and were ready to pay to others but they had engaged the airliner in lengthy litigation and they had been shuttling between PHC and IHC.
He requested the bench that as the issue was pending before the apex court, the hearing be adjourned for the time being. The bench decided to hear the petition again in the third week of Dec.