Pakistan: Parents on PIA flight leave without dead son’s body due to ‘staff negligence’

Mujtaba had been battling a tumour and succumbed to his ailment on Thursday

By ANI

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Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File

Published: Sat 11 May 2024, 1:15 PM

In a deeply distressing turn of events, staff of a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight bound for Skardu from Islamabad forgot to put the body of a six-year-old boy on the fight while his grieving parents embarked on their journey, unaware that their beloved son's body was left behind, Dawn reported.

The parents of the deceased child, overwhelmed by shock and disbelief, fainted upon learning that their son's remains had been inadvertently left behind at Islamabad's airport, a realisation that struck with devastating force upon their arrival at Skardu airport.


Mujtaba, a young resident of Katshi village in the Kharmang district, had been battling a grave illness — a tumour — requiring medical attention beyond the confines of his hometown. Initially diagnosed in Skardu, he was subsequently referred to Rawalpindi for treatment, where he remained under the care of physicians at Benazir Bhutto Hospital for several weeks. Tragically, Mujtaba succumbed to his ailment on Thursday, leaving his grieving parents to navigate the painful process of arranging for his final journey home.

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With the intent to transport their beloved son's body to their native village of Katshi for burial, Mujtaba's parents decided to take a PIA flight departing from Islamabad on Friday. Recognising the impracticality of a gruelling 24-hour road journey in the sweltering heat, they opted for air travel, hoping to expedite their return to their community to bid their final farewells to their cherished child.

Journey turns in nightmare

However, what should have been a solemn and respectful journey turned into a nightmare of unimaginable proportions. Despite diligently adhering to all requisite procedures and regulations, the grief-stricken parents arrived at Islamabad airport at the crack of dawn, meticulously completing the cargo formalities for their son's remains, in accordance with standard operating procedures and the airline's guidelines.

According to Ibrahim Asadi, a relative of the deceased boy, the family's scheduled departure time of 9am local time was marred by an unforeseen delay, prolonging their departure until 1pm. Little did they know that amidst this delay, a grave error had occurred — one that would shatter their already fragile world upon their arrival in Skardu.

As the clock struck 2pm at Skardu airport, the stark reality of the situation came crashing down upon Mujtaba's parents. In a cruel twist of fate, they were informed that their son's body had been left behind in Islamabad — a revelation that plunged them into a state of utter disbelief and despair. Tears flowed as the parents grappled with the magnitude of their loss, while their anguished cries echoed through the airport lounge.

Demanding accountability

Fuelled by grief and righteous indignation, the relatives of the deceased boy swiftly mobilised, uniting in protest against the flagrant negligence displayed by the airline management. Their voices rang out in unified condemnation, demanding accountability and justice for the unforgivable oversight that had robbed them of the opportunity to bid a proper farewell to their beloved son and brother.

In the midst of the chaos, officials from PIA, the Civil Aviation Authority, and other pertinent agencies scrambled to placate the aggrieved family, acknowledging the gravity of their error and vowing to rectify the situation without delay. Assurances were made, promises of swift action and restitution offered, yet the wounds inflicted upon Mujtaba's family remained raw and unhealed.

Amidst the tumult, Yousaf Kamal, another grieving relative, levelled damning accusations against the airline, suggesting a deliberate act of negligence. Allegations surfaced regarding the flight's delayed departure, purportedly to accommodate the travel plans of a federal minister, at the expense of Mujtaba's remains languishing at Islamabad airport, Dawn reported.

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