On January 20, 2017, PIA flight PK-743 forced seven paying customers to stand for a three-hour journey after overselling tickets. PHOTO: REUTERS

So I am not an aviation expert, far from it. I know nothing about planes and I know nothing about air safety. I am however, a mere user of a service which various airlines provide and I have travelled to multiple destinations within and outside Pakistan. So with that background in mind, I would like to ask a few very naïve questions in the wake of the recent Pakistan International Airline (PIA) plane crash.

My first question is, when the airplane was in distress and it tried to make the first belly landing, were there any announcements made at the airport to prepare for an emergency? Was there any foam deployed on the runway? Were any paramedics called? Were any fire brigades called to the scene? I am assuming that there are set SOPs in place that need to be followed. Were any preparations made to receive the ill fated plane?

Question number two: keeping in mind that the area around the airport is densely populated, were the pilots able to safely dump excess fuel as they prepared for an emergency landing?

Every disaster merits an investigation and some heads needs to be rolled, some accountability needs to be fixed, whether it was the Airbus failing on us or whether it was human error, we as customers need to know what actually happened and were there any measures taken to ensure that this would never happen in the future. Why is it that no investigative reports or corrective actions have ever been made public?

Another question that I have is that why are we so surprised when PIA, a government institute, does not perform? Which sector under the government is performing satisfactorily? Look at the Pakistan Post Office, the Steel Mill, TCP, WAPDA, SSGC, Pakistan Railways or even at institutes such as hospitals and the educational sector under the government’s ambit. Give me one example where a government organisation is doing what they are supposed to, is not overstaffed and not corrupt.  The only difference between an airline and other institutes not performing is, that if the SSGC does not deliver gas, you can find alternatives but when PIA fails to perform, the consequences can be fatal.

My next question is, why do we have such a short term memory? We forget things. A PIA plane crashed in Chitral in 2016, where we lost many precious lives. But we are fatalistic to the core and we have it in our DNA that if you are destined to die nothing can save you and if you are destined to die on a particular day, death will find you. This attitude prevents us from questioning what actually went wrong and whether there was any negligence involved.

So as a user of this service, as a tax payer, as a citizen of Pakistan these are some of my questions that I want to put forth to the authorities and readers at large and I would like some answers.

Malahat Awan

Malahat Awan

The author is the corporate relations director at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.