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Pakistan initiates inquiry into deadly plane crash

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An inquiry has been launched into Friday’s plane crash that left 97 people killed in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, the country’s Aviation Minister said on Saturday.

Apart from the investigation board formed by the government, a team from the aircraft’s makers will also visit the crash site for investigation and the plane’s black box will be sent for decoding to further help the probe, Aviation Minister, Ghulam Khan, told a media briefing.

Khan added that the report will be made public within three months, after which stern action will be taken against those found guilty.

He also announced a compensation of one million rupees (about $6,227) each for the families of the 97 deceased passengers.

Talking to Xinhua, Meeran Yousuf, Media Coordinator of the Health Minister of Sindh province with Karachi as its capital city, said that all the 97 people were the passengers of the ill-fated plane and 21 of them have been identified and handed over to relatives.

Identification of the rest is underway.

“We have requested the families of the deceased people to cooperate with us for DNA test to identify the remaining bodies and currently samples are being taken for the test.

“It will take 21 days to identify the bodies through the test after, which they will be handed over to the families,’’ she added.

She said the plane fell in a street and 17 houses were damaged after its wings and wreckage hit them, adding that the families of the affected houses have been shifted to various state-owned accommodations and they will be compensated later.

Two people survived the crash including an engineer who got burn injuries and the president of the Bank of Punjab, who got multiple fractures.

The condition of the two is stable, she said.

“The bank’s president was sitting close to the emergency exit and he controlled his nerves to quickly open the exit door after the plane crashed while the engineer was sitting on the back seat and when he saw the door opening, he restored his conscious and quickly jumped off the burning plane.

Both of them were later shifted to hospital,’’ Yousuf added.

The crashed plane belongs to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and according to Director Management of Operations PIA, Jawad Haider, the plane was not fully loaded due to COVID-19 safety measures.

The PIA flight PK-8303 with 91 passengers and eight crew members onboard took off from the Allama Iqbal International Airport in the eastern city of Lahore at 1.08 p.m. and crashed at 2.45 p.m. local time on Friday, PIA spokesperson, Abdullah Hafeez, said.

The Pakistani government has suspended domestic flight operations in March this year due to its measures against the COVID-19 spread.

The government resumed the domestic flight operations on May 16.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

Babatunde Abdulfatah: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

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Pakistan welcomes 3-day Eid al-Fitr ceasefire in Afghanistan

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Pakistan on Sunday welcomed the announcement of a three-day ceasefire by the Taliban and the Afghan government during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr.

A Taliban statement said that the leadership of the Taliban has directed fighters “not to attack the enemy in any place” during Eid, starting from Sunday. Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has welcomed the Taliban announcement.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said on Sunday that her country welcomes the announcements by the Taliban and the Afghan government about the ceasefire on the occasion of Eid.

“While extending Eid greetings to our Afghan brethren, we pray for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” Farooqui tweeted.

There had been repeated calls for a humanitarian ceasefire in Afghanistan by the international community in the wake of COVID-19 which has also affected the war-shattered country.

(XINHUA)

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People shop for Eid al-Fitr in Islamabad, Pakistan

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People shop for Eid al-Fitr at a local market in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, on May 23, 2020. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)

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UN chief saddened by passenger plane crash in Pakistan

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was saddened by the loss of life and injury in a passenger airline crash in Karachi, Pakistan, said his spokesman on Saturday.

The secretary-general extended his deep condolences to the families of the victims, as well as the people and government of Pakistan. He wished a swift and full recovery to those who were injured, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, in a statement.

A passenger plane of the Pakistan International Airlines crashed into a densely populated residential area in the southern port city of Karachi on Friday. Rescue teams have recovered 97 bodies from the debris, the Pakistani army said on Saturday.

Some 17 people on the ground got multiple injuries, but all in stable condition, said press reports. Flight PK-8303 was flying from the eastern city of Lahore with 91 passengers and eight crew members on board.

(XINHUA)

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Pakistan initiates inquiry into deadly plane crash

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An inquiry has been launched into Friday’s plane crash that left 97 people killed in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, the country’s aviation minister said on Saturday.

Apart from the investigation board formed by the government, a team from the aircraft’s makers will also visit the crash site for investigation, and the plane’s black box will be sent for decoding to further help the probe, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan told a media briefing, adding that the report will be made public within three months after which stern action will be taken against those found guilty.

He also announced a compensation of 1 million rupees (about 6,227 U.S. dollars) each for the families of the 97 deceased passengers.

Talking to Xinhua, Meeran Yousuf, media coordinator of the health minister of Sindh province with Karachi as its capital city, said that all the 97 people were the passengers of the ill-fated plane and 21 of them have been identified and handed over to relatives while identification of the rest is underway.

“We have requested the families of the deceased people to cooperate with us for DNA test to identify the remaining bodies, and currently samples are being taken for the test. It will take 21 days to identify the bodies through the test after which they will be handed over to the families,” she added.

She said the plane fell in a street, and 17 houses were damaged after its wings and wreckage hit them, adding that the families of the affected houses have been shifted to various state-owned accommodations, and they will be compensated later.

Two people survived the crash including an engineer who got burn injuries, and the president of the Bank of Punjab who got multiple fractures but the condition of the two is stable, she said.

“The bank’s president was sitting close to the emergency exit, and he controlled his nerves to quickly open the exit door after the plane crashed while the engineer was sitting on the back seat and when he saw the door opening, he restored his conscious and quickly jumped off the burning plane. Both of them were later shifted to hospital,” Yousuf added.

The crashed plane belongs to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and according to Director Management of Operations PIA Jawad Haider, the plane was not fully loaded due to COVID-19 safety measures.

The PIA flight PK-8303 with 91 passengers and eight crew members onboard took off from the Allama Iqbal International Airport in the eastern city of Lahore at 1:08 p.m. and crashed at 2:45 p.m. local time on Friday, PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez said.

The Pakistani government has suspended domestic flight operations in March this year due to its measures against the COVID-19 spread. The government resumed the domestic flight operations on May 16.

(XINHUA)

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Pakistan conveys condolences to India, Bangladesh over cyclone losses

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Pakistan on Saturday extended condolences to India and Bangladesh over the human losses and destruction after severe cyclonic storm Amphan killed dozens in both countries and displaced thousands in recent days.

“The Government and people of Pakistan are saddened over the deaths and widespread devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan in Bangladesh and India,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We extend sympathies and condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones and pray for speedy recovery of the affected regions,” it said.

On Friday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed condolences to Pakistan over a passenger plane crash in Karachi.

Modi said in a twitter post that “deeply saddened by the loss of life due to a plane crash in Pakistan. Our condolences to the families of the deceased, and wishing speedy recovery to those injured.”

Tensions heightened between Pakistan and India after India scrapped special status to the Indian-controlled Kashmir in August 2019.

Pakistan rejected the Indian government’s decision as illegal and violation of the United Nations resolutions.

(XINHUA)

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97 killed, 2 survive in Pakistan’s plane crash

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Rescue teams have recovered 97 bodies from the debris of a plane of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) which crashed into a residential area in the southern port city of Karachi on Friday, the Pakistani army said on Saturday.

Rescuers from the army and civil rescue groups have shifted the bodies to hospitals and also recovered two people onboard who survived in the crash, the media wing of the army, the Inter-Services Public Relations, said in a statement.

The PIA flight PK-8303 with 91 passengers and eight crew members onboard took off from the Allama Iqbal International Airport in the eastern city of Lahore at 1:08 p.m. and crashed at 2:45 p.m. local time on Friday, PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez said.

Though the plane crashed on the densely populated residential area lying next to one of the airport’s walls, no fatality was reported on the ground, said Meeran Yousuf, media coordinator of the health minister of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the provincial capital.

Some 17 people on the ground got multiple injuries, but their condition was stable, he added.

About 25 houses of the residential area were damaged in the crash, and the residents were evacuated to various places with the assistance of the civil administration, the military statement said.

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Death toll of Pakistan’s plane crash rises to 80

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The death toll of a passenger plane crash in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi has soared to 80, while seven others including the people aboard and those on the ground were injured, police said.

Rescue teams have shifted 48 bodies to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, and 32 others to the Civil Hospital Karachi, police sources in Karachi told Xinhua on condition of anonymity, adding that most of the bodies have been burnt beyond recognition and will be identified by DNA testing.

The health department of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the provincial capital, said in a statement that five bodies of the ill-fated plane victims have already been identified.

Meeran Yousuf, media representative to the health minister of Sindh, retracted an earlier statement made by the health minister of three survivors in the plane crash, by saying that only two people survived the crash. The third one was an injured person on the ground who was misunderstood as a crash survivor.

There is no official word on the exact cause of the crash yet, and the country’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan formed a committee to probe into the incident and identify the elements behind the crash.

The crashed plane belonged to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and according to Director Management of Operations PIA Jawad Haider, the plane was not fully loaded due to COVID-19 safety measures.

The PIA flight PK-8303 took off from the Allama Iqbal International Airport in the eastern city of Lahore at 1:08 p.m. local time on Friday and crashed at 2:45 p.m. local time, PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez said.

Briefing Xinhua about the cause of the crash, Ismail Khoso, spokesman of the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the plane, Airbus A320, with some 100 people on board, crashed shortly before landing at the Karachi airport on Friday afternoon.

He also confirmed that the pilot contacted the control tower, intimating that the plane was meeting some technical fault, and he was told that two runways were vacant for landing and he may use any as per convenience.

“Instead of landing, the pilot preferred to take another round in the air, and shortly after, he lost contact with the control, and the plane was later found crashed in a residential area,” said the spokesman.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the PIA, Arshad Malik, told a media briefing on Friday night that the plane was fully operational and did not have any technical fault when it took off from Lahore airport, adding the problem only erupted in the plane when it was about to land at the airport during its first round.

He also said the pilots were also qualified and had a good flight experience, and a further investigation would determine the cause of the crash.

The airline’s chief said no loss of life was reported at the ground as the plane landed mainly at a street, and no major damage was done to the houses, contradicting the statements by eyewitness and CAA officials that several houses were damaged in the crash.

Rescue teams from non-government organizations, military and government took part in the operation to shift the bodies and injured people to the hospitals, police sources said, adding that the rescue operation still continued in the area to recover the remaining bodies or possible survivors.

(XINHUA)

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Spotlight: At least 50 killed in passenger plane crash in Pakistan’s Karachi, 3 survive

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A total of 50 bodies and seven injured people have been recovered and shifted to two hospitals in Karachi after a passenger plane crashed in a residential area in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi on Friday, police sources and rescuers said.

Police sources told Xinhua that the deceased would be identified through DNA tests.

Minister of Health of the southern Sindh province Azra Fazal Pechuho told local media that at least three people survived the fatal accident, including chief of the Bank of Punjab.

She also told Xinhua that she has declared an emergency in all major hospitals of Karachi and canceled leaves of all medics to join their duties.

According to Director Management of Operations PIA Jawad Haider, the plane was not fully loaded due to COVID-19 safety measures.

Briefing Xinhua about the cause of crash, Ismail Khoso, spokesman of the country’s Civil Aviation Authority said that the plane of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Airbus A320, with some 100 people on board, crashed shortly before landing at Karachi airport on Friday afternoon.

“I cannot confirm the cause of crash, CAA’s investigation board will probe the incident and its report will be released on Saturday or a day after, after which I will be able to share the details,” he said.

However, he confirmed that the pilot contacted the control tower intimating that the plane was meeting some technical fault, and he was told that two runways were vacant for landing and he may use any as per convenience. “Instead of landing, the pilot preferred to take another round in the air, and shortly after he lost contact with the control, and the plane was later found crashed in residential area.”

He said that loss of lives was also feared on the ground, because houses were destroyed and several walls were damaged in the crash.

The black box of the plane has been found, and it will be sent abroad for decoding, after which the situation will be cleared, the spokesman said.

According to Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, there were no Chinese nationals on board the ill-fated plane.

The PIA flight PK-8303 took off from the Allama Iqbal International Airport in the eastern city of Lahore at 1:08 p.m. local time and crashed at 2:45 p.m. local time, a PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez said.

The plane crashed in Model Town colony, lying close to one of the airport’s wall. Talking to Xinhua about the plane crash, an eyewitness Zeeshan Mangi said that planes flying low over their homes is a normal routine as the airport’s landing area is hardly 3 km from their houses.

“Friday was also a normal day when the plane flew over our houses to land at airport, but some people saw it flying back and soaring above the ground, before coming for another round to land, but shortly before landing we saw it having problem in the air. It was tilted back and strange sounds were coming out of it,” said Mangi.

“With in a blink of eye the plane fell down, it was not like that it plummeted to the ground at a 90 degree angle, its flight was smooth, yet all of a sudden it just fell down on the roofs of the street next to my home with a big bang.”

He said that the streets in his colony are congested due to which snorkels of fire brigade could not reach the area, while other small fire engines and rescue teams took about 20 minutes to half an hour to reach the sight, but the damage had been done till then.

“Right now, the affected street has been cordoned off, and some bodies were shifted to ambulances through the roofs, rescue work continues and helicopters are hovering over my area to monitor the situation,” the witness said.

The Pakistani government has suspended domestic flight operations in March this year due to its measures against the COVID-19 spread. The government resumed the domestic flight operations on May 16.

Pakistani President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed sorrow over the plane crash and loss of precious lives.

The prime minister through Twitter expressed condolences to families of the deceased, saying that an immediate inquiry would be instituted to know the cause of the crash.

Earlier, on Dec. 7, 2016, an ATR-42 aircraft of the PIA crashed en route from northern Chitral district to capital Islamabad, claiming lives of all 48 passengers and crew members onboard.

(XINHUA)

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At least 50 killed in passenger plane crash in Pakistan’s Karachi, black box found

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A total of 50 bodies and seven injured people have been recovered and shifted to two hospitals after a passenger plane crashed in a residential area in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi Friday, police sources and rescuers said.

Police sources told Xinhua that the deceased will be identified through DNA tests.

Briefing Xinhua about the cause of crash, Ismail Khoso, spokesman of the country’s Civil Aviation Authority said that the plane of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Airbus A320, with some 100 people on board, crashed shortly before landing at Karachi airport on Friday afternoon.

“I cannot confirm the cause of crash, CAA’s investigation board will probe the incident and its report will be released on Saturday or a day after, after which I will be able to share the details,” he said.

However, he confirmed that the pilot contacted the control tower intimating that the plane was meeting some technical fault, and he was told that two runways were vacant for landing and he may use any as per convenience. “Instead of landing, the pilot preferred to take another round in the air, and shortly after he lost contact with the control, the plane was later found crashed in residential area.”

He said that loss of lives was also feared on the ground, because houses were destroyed and several walls were damaged in the crash.

The black box of the plane has been found, and it will be sent abroad for decoding, after which the situation will be cleared, said the spokesman.

The plane crashed in Model Town colony, lying close to one of the airport’s wall.

Talking to Xinhua about plane crash, an eyewitness Zeeshan Mangi said that planes flying low over their homes is a normal routine as the airport’s landing area is hardly 3 km from their houses.

“Friday was also a normal day when the plane flew over our houses to land at airport, but some people saw it flying back and soaring above the ground, before coming for another round to land, but shortly before landing we saw it having problem in the air. It was tilted back and strange sounds were coming out of it,” said Mangi.

“Within a blink of eye the plane fell down, it was not like that it plummeted to the ground at a 90 degree angle, its flight was smooth, yet all of a sudden it just fell down on the roofs of the street next to my home with a big bang.”

He said that the streets in his colony are congested, due to which snorkels of fire brigade could not reach the area, other small fire engines and rescue teams took about 20 minutes to half an hour to reach the sight, but the damage had been done till then.

“Right now, the affected street has been cordoned off, and some bodies were shifted to ambulances through the roofs, rescue work continues and helicopters are hovering over my area to monitor the situation,” the witness said.

The Pakistani government has suspended domestic flight operations in March this year due to its measures against the COVID-19 spread. The government resumed the domestic flight operations on May 16.

Pakistani President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed sorrow over the plane crash and loss of precious lives.

The prime minister through Twitter expressed condolences to families of the deceased, saying that an immediate inquiry would be instituted to know the cause of the crash.

Earlier, on Dec. 7, 2016, an ATR-42 aircraft of the PIA crashed en route from northern Chitral district to capital Islamabad, claiming lives of all 48 passengers and crewmembers onboard.

(XINHUA)

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Pakistan plane with 107 on board crashes into houses upon landing

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An Airbus A320 plane with 107 passengers and crew on board crashed into a residential area of Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi on Friday, killing an unknown number of people, the country’s civil agency said.

Abdul Sattar Khokhar, a spokesman for the aviation authority, said that the plane operated by Pakistan International Airline (PIA), crashed moment before landing.

“The crash occurred during the last minute of the flight as the plane was about to land at the Jinnah International Airport,’’ Khokhar added.

According to both the airline and Civil Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar, deaths have been reported but the specific number of casualties was unknown.

“Flight PK8303 took off from the eastern city of Lahore around 1 p.m. (0800 GMT) and crashed at 2:35 p.m.

“It slammed into the Model Colony neighbourhood some 2 kilometres from the runway,’’ Khokhar said.

An army statement said that the military and civil agencies were undertaking the rescue operation and searching through the rubble of houses.

“No fewer than 15 people who were wounded in the damaged houses were taken to Karachi’s Jinnah Hospital, where a state of emergency was declared,’’ Dr Seemi Jamali said.

Also broadcaster Dunya television reported that the rescue operation was moving ahead slowly because heavy machinery could not move into the narrow streets.

“The pilot was asked to land by the control tower but he relayed a message that the plane had a technical problem, PIA chief Arshad Malik said.

He told the media that the pilot made an attempt and went on a go-ground.

“We will know the exact after investigations,’’ he said.

Malik said there was loss of life in the crash, however, did not confirm how many passengers had died.

Witnesses told local television channels they saw the plane circling around the airport before coming down.

Television footage showed ambulances rushing to the crash site and plumes of thick smoke rising from the scene.

Pakistan resumed domestic flights on May 15 after a coronavirus lockdown.

International air travel remains banned until the end of the month.

Pakistan has seen several deadly air crashes in the past decade.

In 2016, 48 people were killed when an ATR turboprop operated by PIA crashed in northern Pakistan.

In 2012, all 127 people on board Bhoja Air, a small private airline, travelling from Karachi to Islamabad were killed when the plane crashed in the approach area.

In 2010, in Pakistan’s worst-ever air disaster, an Airblue Airbus crashed before landing in Islamabad, killing all 152 people on board.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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11 bodies shifted to hospital after passenger plane crashes in Pakistan’s Karachi

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Rescuers have shifted at least 11 bodies and 15 injured to a hospital after a passenger plane of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) carrying some 100 people crashed in a residential area Friday afternoon in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, local media and officials said.

Spokesperson of the Jinnah Hospital Seemi Jamali told media that the hospital has received 11 bodies and 15 others who got serious burn injuries.

Minister of Health of the southern Sindh province Azra Fazal Pechuho told Xinhua that she has declared an emergency in all major hospitals of Karachi and canceled leaves of all medics to join their duties.

According to Director Management of Operations PIA Jawad Haider, the plane was not fully loaded due to COVID-19 safety measures. Local reports also said that at least two persons onboard, including chief of the Bank of Punjab, survived in the crash with minor injuries.

A spokesperson of the PIA Abdullah Hafeez told media that the passenger plane Airbus 320 crashed at the Model Colony residential adjacent to the Jinnah Garden near the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.

“The PIA flight PK-8303 took off from the Allama Iqbal International Airport in the eastern city of Lahore at 1:08 p.m. local time for the 90-minutes flight to the country’s biggest city Karachi but it crashed at 2:45 p.m. local time,” the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said that the pilot of the plane gave mayday call to the airport control and told about some technical fault in the plane, but the plane lost contact with the control tower at 2:37 p.m. local time.

An eyewitness named Irfan told local media that he was at the roof of his house when he saw the plane coming down speedily without any engine sound and it crashed at some houses in a couple of seconds.

Another eyewitness named Umer Murtaza told Xinhua that he was inside his house when he heard a big blast, and when he came out he saw the plane had crashed in his street.

A rescue official said that several people on the ground might have died or seriously injured because the plane destroyed at least five houses, some shops and several vehicles.

The Pakistani government has suspended domestic flight operations in March this year due to its measures against the COVID-19 spread. The government resumed the domestic flight operations on May 16.

Pakistani President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed sorrow over the plane crash and loss of precious lives.

The prime minister through Twitter expressed condolences to families of the deceased, saying that an immediate inquiry would be instituted to know the cause of the crash.

Earlier, on Dec. 7, 2016, an ATR-42 aircraft of the PIA crashed en route from northern Chitral district to capital Islamabad, claiming lives of all 48 passengers and crewmembers onboard.

(XINHUA)

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CPEC contributes to Pakistan’s national development: Pakistani foreign ministry

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The Foreign Ministry of Pakistan said on Friday that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), under the Belt and Road Initiative, is a transformational project contributing positively and transparently to Pakistan’s national development.

Pakistan’s statement came after Alice Wells, outgoing principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs of the U.S. State Department, recently criticized the CPEC projects and defamed China-Pakistan relations.

It is reiterated that CPEC, a long-term project, has helped address development gaps in energy, infrastructure, industrialization, and job creation in Pakistan, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We have reiterated many times that our total public debt relating to CPEC projects is less than even 10 percent of the total debt. Moreover, the public debt obtained from China has a maturity period of 20 years and the interest is 2.34 percent. If grants are included, the interest value slides down to about two percent,” the statement said.

“The claims made by some of the commentators and public officials on Pakistan’s debt obligations relating to CPEC are contrary to facts,” it added.

The statement said Pakistan believes that regional economic connectivity will provide a critical stimulus for creating broad-based growth across the region.

“Pakistan and China have several mechanisms to discuss matters of mutual interest. Both countries are regularly in touch to address those issues bilaterally,” according to the statement.

The statement said Pakistan and China are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and are engaged in prompting peace, development and stability in the region based on the principles of mutual respect, mutual benefit, win-win cooperation and shared development.

The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan said on Thursday that the recent remarks of Wells about CPEC are irresponsible and totally baseless, “just a repetition of her same old tune.”

“The CPEC is an important cooperation project between the Governments of China and Pakistan. It has always adhered to the principles of mutual benefit, win-win cooperation, openness and transparency. The planning and implementation of the projects are carried out by the two sides through thorough consultations based on equality and scientific study,” the embassy said.

(XINHUA)

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Indian PM Modi expresses condolences on Pakistan plane crash

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his condolences at the loss of human lives in the plane crash in Pakistan on Friday.

“Deeply saddened by the loss of life due to a plane crash in Pakistan. Our condolences to the families of the deceased, and wishing speedy recovery to those injured,” tweeted Modi a short while ago.

(XINHUA)

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Passenger plane with about 100 people aboard crashes in Pakistan’s Karachi

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A passenger plane of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) carrying some 100 people crashed in a residential area on Friday afternoon in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, according to local media and an official.

A spokesperson of the PIA Abdullah Hafeez told media that the passenger plane Airbus A320 crashed in the Jinnah Garden residential area near the Jinnah International Airport.

The PIA flight PK-8303 took off from the Allama Iqbal International Airport in the eastern city of Lahore at 1:08 p.m. local time and crashed at 2:45 p.m. local time, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the pilot of the plane told the airport control about technical fault and the plane lost contact with the control room at 2:37 p.m. local time.

Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority said that there were 107 people on board, including 99 passengers and eight crew members. However, some local media quoted the PIA as saying that 98 were on the plane. According to a passenger list of the crashed plane available on the Internet, there were 91 passengers on board.

Police, security forces and rescue teams rushed to the site and extinguished the fire and started a search for bodies. Rescuers have shifted six bodies to a local hospital so far, according to local media.

An eyewitness named Umer Murtaza told Xinhua that he was inside his house when he heard a huge sound and when he came out he saw the plane had crashed in his street.

Rescue official feared that a number of people might have been killed on the ground because the crash destroyed at least five houses, several shops and vehicles.

The Pakistani government suspended domestic flight operations in March this year due to its measures against the COVID-19 spread. The government resumed the domestic flight operations on May 16.

(XINHUA)

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Passenger plane with around 100 people aboard crashes in Pakistan’s Karachi

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A passenger plane of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) with around 100 people aboard crashed Friday afternoon in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, local media reported.

According to media, the Airbus A320 plane which took off from the country’s eastern city of Lahore crashed in Jinnah Garden area of Karachi.

Police, security forces and rescue teams reached the site and were extinguishing the fire.

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) said the aircraft was carrying 107 people, including 99 passengers and eight crew members.

However, the PIA airline said 98 people were on board the ill-fated plane.

An eyewitness told the media that the plane crashed in a residential area. Local TV footage showed firefighters were putting out the fire in a residential area.

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Passenger plane with over 100 people aboard crashes in Pakistan’s Karachi

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A passenger plane of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) with over 100 people aboard crashed Friday afternoon in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, local media reported.

According to the reports, the plane which took off from the country’s eastern city of Lahore crashed in Jinnah Garden area of Karachi.

Police, security forces and rescue teams reached the site and were extinguishing the fire.

An eyewitness told the media that the plane crashed in a residential area. However, there are no official words on it yet.

(XINHUA)

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Passenger plane of Pakistan Int’l Airlines crashes in Pakistan’s Karachi

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A passenger plane of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) crashed on Friday afternoon in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, local media reported.

There are no reports about how many passengers were on board.

(XINHUA)

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Pakistan’s confirmed COVID-19 cases cross 50,000

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 50,694 with 1,067 deaths in Pakistan, according to the data updated by the country’s health ministry Friday morning.

A total of 2,603 new cases and 50 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, the statistics revealed.

Overall, 34,426 patients are under treatment in hospitals while 15,201 have recovered completely, which is 30 percent of the total confirmed cases.

The country’s southern Sindh province is the most affected region with 19,924 cases followed by eastern Punjab province with 18,455 cases.

The northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province reported 7,155 cases, with 365 deaths. At least 3,074 cases have been reported in southwestern Balochistan province, 1,326 in the capital city Islamabad, and 602 in northern Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Sindh province recorded 336 deaths, followed by Punjab where 310 infected people have lost their lives, the statistics said, adding that Pakistan has conducted 445,987 tests officially so far.

The Pakistani government started to ease the lockdown from May 9, aiming at mitigating the influence of the COVID-19 outbreak and the lockdown on the labor class and the poor in the country. The domestic flight operations and train services in Pakistan have also been resumed partially.

The reopened industries and the public have been asked to strictly follow the standard operating procedures formed by the government to avoid the spread of the pandemic.

(XINHUA)

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Feature: Pakistani students recall time in second home China during COVID-19 lockdown

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Daud Younas reached his home in Pakistan’s east Gujranwala district on Thursday after spending over four good years of his life in China to pursue a degree in medicine from the Hubei University of Chinese Medicine in Wuhan.

A day before his flight to Pakistan in January, after completion of his degree, Chinese authorities imposed a lockdown in Wuhan, central China‘s Hubei Province, cancelling all international flights, and like many other Pakistani students, he had to stay in China till the situation came under control.

“Psychologically it was very panicking as I was packing my bags to come back to Pakistan to stay with my family and start professional life here,” the 22-year-old told Xinhua.

“But through the over four-year experience I had in China, I was mentally satisfied that I will be well cared of by my university and the Chinese authorities because China is just like second home for me and other Pakistani students because of the warmth and affection we receive from the Chinese government and people.”

He said that during the COVID-19 lockdown, the Chinese government and his university staff took good care of him and his fellow Pakistanis to make them feel at home. They were provided with free food and free necessities of life right at their doorstep. Moreover, the university administration was in direct contact with them and checked their body temperature regularly to give medical aid to any suspected COVID-19 patient.

“A Pakistani student in my university was a coronavirus suspect because he was suffering from high fever. When his health condition was noticed by the university administration, medical assistance came within no time and he was shifted to hospital where he was taken best care of for 14 days, and he told us upon his return that the people at hospital took care of him as if he was their family member.”

In January, COVID-19 was a new disease for the whole world including for Pakistanis, and parents of the students in Wuhan were very concerned about their wellbeing because of the outbreak.

“I was so panicked, sometimes I used to think that my boy may contract the disease, and I would never be able to see him again. I visited Pakistan’s ministry of health, and wrote letters to the government to bring my son back, but Daud kept telling me during all that initial phase that he is being well taken care of and was very satisfied with the way his university and the Chinese authorities treated him,” Younas’s father said.

Over 28,000 Pakistani students are studying in China and most of them act as “ambassadors of China” after coming back to Pakistan because of the hospitality they receive from the government and people of China, Muhammad Raza Chohan, academic director general at the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan told Xinhua.

Abu Bakar, 25, is one of the students who experienced the lockdown in Jingzhou of Hubei province. His flight was scheduled a few days after the lockdown, but the suspension of flight service in January bound him to stay longer in China.

“Initially it was all panic, other Pakistanis and I wanted to rush back to our homes to escape the disease. Students of other nationalities were evacuated by their governments, making us more insecure of the prevailing situation, but all concerns died their natural death when the Chinese government took great care of us,” he said.

“We received everything from tooth paste to meals, free of cost during the lockdown period. Though we were not allowed to leave our rooms which sometimes caused emotionally turmoil, we knew that it was the only solution of curbing the spread, and we should stand with the Chinese government to defeat the disease.”

Upon his arrival in his hometown in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Bakar, who has completed his medical degree in China, is keen to apply as a volunteer to help his province fight against the pandemic as he believes that he has the firsthand experience and observation of the outbreak, management and control of the disease, and he can counsel the patients to adopt the right approach to defeat the infectious disease.

“I learnt many things in China. Apart from being my second home, it made me what I am today by providing me good quality education and teaching me the true essence of friendship and hospitality during the last days of my stay in China during the lockdown.”

A special Pakistan International Airlines flight, carrying 274 Pakistani students, arrived in Islamabad from Wuhan on Monday night. The returning students told Xinhua that they were shifted to quarantine facilities in Islamabad for a day where they were tested of COVID-19 and were allowed to leave for their homes after all of them were reported negative.

The Foreign Ministry of Pakistan said on the occasion of Pakistani students’ return that the government of Pakistan highly appreciates the efforts of the government and people of China for extending full support and cooperation to the students, as Wuhan defeated COVID-19.

(XINHUA)

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Death toll of COVID-19 crosses 1,000 mark with 48,091 confirmed cases in Pakistan

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The death toll of COVID-19 has risen to 1,017 with 48,091 confirmed cases in Pakistan, according to data updated by the country’s health ministry Thursday morning.

A total of 2,193 new cases and 32 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, the statistics revealed.

Overall, 32,919 patients are under treatment in different hospitals while 14,155 have recovered completely, which is 29.4 percent of the total confirmed cases.

The country’s southern Sindh province is the most affected region with 18,964 cases followed by eastern Punjab province with 17,382 cases.

The northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province reported 6,815 cases, with 351 deaths. At least 2,968 cases have been reported in southwest Balochistan province, 1,235 in the capital city Islamabad, and 579 in north Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Sindh recorded 316 deaths followed by Punjab where 297 infected people have lost their lives, the statistics said, adding that Pakistan has conducted 429,600 tests officially so far.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday ordered an end to the coronavirus lockdown across the country as the apex court observed that a large number of workers will be jobless. The court later said the verdict will be reviewed after the festival of Eid al-Fitr.

(XINHUA)

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