I’ll be home to welcome you, victim’s last words to wife

I’ll be home to welcome you, victim’s last words to wife

GILGIT: By the time you are done with your exams, I’ll be back home to welcome you, Nisaruddin told his wife over phone, just before his plane took off from Chitral airport on Wednesday.

But he wasn’t able to welcome her.

Nisaruddin, 35, had no way to know that this would be the last time he would speak to his wife of two years.

Nisaruddin was one of the passengers on PK-661 – the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight from Chitral to Islamabad that crashed into a hillside after one of its engines failed.

A banker by trade, Nisaruddin was a native of Oshikhandas in Gilgit and was on a work visit to Chitral, where he spent a couple of days.

Hoping to see her husband, his wife returned home early from college, where she was sitting an exam. Waiting, she turned on the TV and felt her heart drop.

“The Islamabad-bound plane has crashed and casualties are feared,” a TV channel flashed.

She screamed in panic and rushed to her neighbours downstairs, where her husband’s relatives had also arrived after hearing the news.

Nisaruddin got married in October 2014 and had two children. Being the eldest brother, he was also the bread earner for his seven-member family. He had two brothers and three sisters.

“We can’t believe what happened,” Faisal Ali, his brother in law, said on Thursday. “It’s like we lost everything in the world,” Ali told The Express Tribune.

Before speaking to his wife from the plane on that unfortunate day, Nisaruddin first spoke to his older son – two-year-old Uraibuddin, and promised to get him his favorite chocolate bar once he was back home.

“I can’t believe he is gone. He was one of my best buddies,” said Sher Ghazi, one of his friends. “I’ll never forget the times we spent together,” Ghazi said.

He explained that Nisaruddin was always humble and down to earth – a man who would always be ready to help others.

Family members said that Nisaruddin was based at a bank in Islamabad, but would always come to visit his father and mother back home in their village when he got the time. DNA testing is underway in Islamabad to identify his remains. His wife and children are already back in the village so that arrangements can be made for his funeral.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2016.

PK-661 crash: PM vows to ‘bring out the truth’

PK-661 crash: PM vows to ‘bring out the truth’

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday ordered an in-depth, independent and transparent inquiry into the tragic crash of PIA flight PK-661 a day earlier, which resulted in the deaths of all 48 people on board.

“An inquiry by the Safety Investigation Board (SIB) should be completed at the earliest. It is imperative to bring out the truth and share it with the people in the shortest possible time,” he said while chairing a meeting over the unfortunate air accident near Havelian in Abbottabad district.

Safety Investigation Board to do first independent inquiry

The prime minister directed a senior Pakistan Air Force officer to be made part of the inquiry committee looking into the PK661 crash. However, the official handout issued by the Prime Minister House following the meeting did not specify a timeframe for the inquiry.

During the meeting, the PIA chairman, aviation secretary and Civil Aviation Authority director general informed Premier Nawaz that the flight crew, particularly the pilots, of PK661 were highly experienced and professional. “The deceased flight captain had more than 10,000 flying hours to his credit,” the handout quoted them as telling the prime minister.

They also told the premier that the ATR aircraft which crashed had undergone routine maintenance and safety checks and had been declared airworthy in all respects. The plane had been last inspected for faults in November and before that in July, they said.

Prime Minister Nawaz was also briefed about recovery operations and told that the remains of all the deceased had been shifted to Islamabad for identification through DNA analysis – a process which could take up to a week, the officials said. The premier in turn directed them to complete the process as early as possible.

Only five out 35 bodies could be identified through fingerprints and other evidence obtained from the wreckage, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) said in a report submitted to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. The report added that the remaining bodies could not be identified through biometric means because they had been charred badly in the crash.

Authorities, meanwhile, handed over the bodies of eight PK661 crash victims to their heirs, moving the remains of the other 39 deceased to a private cold storage unit until their identities are ascertained through DNA profiling.

The remains of the crash victims were transported from Abbottabad to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) in Islamabad by helicopters earlier in the day.

Among the remains handed over to heirs after identification was the body of Chitral deputy commissioner (DC) Osama Ahmad Warraich. However, the remains of the most high-profile victim of the crash – singer-turned-evangelist Junaid Jamshed – and of his wife could not be identified as yet.

Beset with grief, close relatives of the victims of Wednesday’s tragic crash started coming to the hospital to give samples for DNA verification. “About 26 close relatives submitted blood samples on Thursday,” said Pims administrator Dr Altaf Hussain. Only siblings, children or parents of the victims can provide samples for the process.

PIA announces Rs0.5 million compensation for PK-661 crash victims

Glum, but composed, the relatives of the victims were gathered all day at the information desk set up by the PIA and Pims administration. Some constantly took rounds of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) centre situated at the opposite corner of the hospital where the remains of the victims were placed for identification. The long wait in the start of identification also frustrated the family members by the evening.

“We have been here since morning, but the identification process has not even started yet,” complained Rehmat Ali, a colleague of one of the victims. “At least the relatives should be allowed to see the bodies, but there is no one here to guide them.”

Some others complained about the handling of bodies during the recovery operation. “Haphazard and careless collection of the victims remains have made identification even more cumbersome,” complained Maqsood Shehzada, a relative of another victim.

During his meeting with aviation officials, Prime Minister Nawaz directed the PIA administration to reach out to the grieving families of the crash victims and to facilitate them in every way to lessen their burden. The premier also called Junaid Jamshed’s son Taimoor and the father of Osama Warraich to condole them on the deaths of the former singer and the Chitral DC, respectively.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2016.

Defies common sense that pilots will fly aircraft with defects: PIA

Defies common sense that pilots will fly aircraft with defects: PIA

Pakistan International Airlines on Friday slammed media reports suggesting the ATR-42 aircraft which crashed in Abbottabad was faulty and not airworthy.

“Media reports suggesting that there was some known defect in the aircraft before its last flight are also totally baseless. It defies common sense that pilots and engineers would fly an aircraft that does not meet safety standards, and risk their own lives,” PIA spokesperson Danyal Gilani said.

As questions arise regarding the airworthiness of ATR-42, the airline’s spokesperson said, “ATR is perfectly safe for flying and is useful and economical on short haul flights in both hot and cold weather conditions.”

Several of these aircraft are being operated by airlines in India and Europe, he added.

Engine trouble is initially believed responsible for Wednesday’s deadly plane crash, but many questions remain, including about the airworthiness of the ATR-42 aircraft, stirring new worries about the safety record of the ailing national carrier Pakistan International Airlines.

The plane was en route to Islamabad from Chitral when one of its two turboprop engines failed shortly after take-off, causing it to crash into the mountains of Batolni village of Havelian — 32 nautical miles from Benazir Bhutto International Airport, killing all on board.

Momina Mustehsan named Islamabad United’s Empowerment Champion

Momina Mustehsan named Islamabad United’s Empowerment Champion

Singer Momina Mustehsan has been named as Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Islamabad United’s Empowerment Champion.

According to a statement, Momina will feature in the team’s marketing and social channels, and will participate in events and campaigns in the coming months.

Apart from being a vocalist, Momina is known for her commitment to social issues in Pakistan. Last month, she was among public figures who came together for a campaign against domestic violence for UN Women Pakistan.

Islamabad United owner Amna Naqvi said Momina’s contribution to social issues makes her an ideal person for the position.

“We decided to incorporate Momina into the Islamabad United family as our Empowerment Champion because we believe it is our responsibility to foster more positive and progressive mindsets in our country,” she said.

“The empowerment of women in Pakistan is something we feel strongly about, and is something that Momina can be the face of. She is someone who is a role model for young women in Pakistan; the grace with which she has conducted herself through her rapid rise, while maintaining her principles is exemplary,” she added.

Regarding the partnership, Momina said she was honoured.

“I feel honoured and inspired by this opportunity to aid in advancing gender equality in Pakistan,” she said. “The vision that Islamabad United have for social issues, particularly with their Empowerment Programmes is something I feel strongly about, and look forward to contributing to.”

National players hail Leisure Leagues

National players hail Leisure Leagues

KARACHI: Pakistan national football players, including Kaleemullah, captain Hassan Bashir and women’s team captain Hajra Khan, hailed the launch of the Leisure Leagues in Pakistan which was announced at the British Deputy High Commission office in Karachi on Monday.

“Leisure Leagues is a very positive step as it will help unearth players who can represent Pakistan in the future,” Kaleemullah told The Express Tribune. “We desperately need a league system as that would help groom the youth into professional footballers.”

Leisure Leagues is a UK-based organisation which holds five-a-side, six-a-side and seven-a-side leagues in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and USA.

Kaleemullah asks FIFA to solve PFF mess

The organisation has been active for the past 25 years and its president Tim Ollerenshaw revealed that they have plans to launch their operations in Pakistan from next year.

The leagues structure is such that it is not limited to just attracting professional players; it will try to rope in anyone who wants to play football, and this is an aspect which excited Pakistan midfielder Muhammad Adil the most.

No Pakistan at AFC Solidarity Cup

“The best thing is that anyone can play these leagues and that will give a lot of opportunities to many people to showcase their skills,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2016.

Australia remain unchanged for day-night Test against Pakistan

Australia remain unchanged for day-night Test against Pakistan

MELBOURNE: Australia named an unchanged squad on Thursday for the first Test against Pakistan starting next week, which will be the first day-night Test held at Brisbane’s Gabba.

Steve Smith’s team, drastically overhauled following their series-losing second Test defeat by South Africa in Hobart, salvaged pride by beating the Proteas in the third Test in Adelaide by seven wickets.

The selectors made six changes for the Adelaide Test, but decided the squad that reversed the team’s run of five Test successive defeats deserved another chance under lights in Brisbane.

Mitchell Marsh believes latest heroics not enough for Test recall against Pakistan

“We were very pleased with how the team came together in Adelaide after some significant changes following the Tests in Perth and Hobart,” said chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns in a statement.

“This is a young group with a lot of promise and we believe all deserve their opportunity again in this upcoming Test,” he added.

Asad Shafiq hopeful of good results in Tests against Australia

Opening batsman Shaun Marsh was not considered as he recovers from a broken finger he sustained in the first Test against South Africa.

The first Test of the three-match series against Pakistan starts on December 15.


Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, Matt Renshaw, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade.

Suarez to be offered new contract, says Barcelona president

Suarez to be offered new contract, says Barcelona president

BARCELONA: Barcelona’s prolific striker Luis Suarez will be offered a new contract with the Spanish champions until 2022, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Thursday.

The 29-year-old Uruguayan collected the European Golden Shoe last season for the top scorer in domestic football in Europe with 40 league goals, helping Barca’s famed ‘MSN’ trio also containing Messi and Neymar score a record 131 goals in all competitions.

“Suarez is going to get a renewed contract very soon, it’s done, just a few small details need to be sorted and we’ll announce it in the next few days or weeks,” Bartomeu told Uruguayan radio station Cadena Celeste.

“It will be a great Christmas present, not necessarily for Luis as he already knows he’s going to continue here, but for football fans. For us he is an important character, he forms part of this spectacular trident we have, which helps the entire team function,” he added.

Suarez has won eight trophies since joining Barcelona from Liverpool in 2014, including two La Liga titles, two King’s Cups and the Champions League. He is the club’s joint top scorer in the league this season alongside Messi with nine goals.


Bartomeu added: “We want [his contract] to be even longer, but for the moment he will sign until 2022. You have to adapt to the rules, which have a maximum contract length. We want Luis Suarez to stay at the club for many more years. And when he retires, he will always be welcomed back at Barcelona.”

Umpire sent to hospital after blow to head in Mumbai Test

Umpire sent to hospital after blow to head in Mumbai Test


Umpire Paul Reiffel was taken off the field and sent to hospital after a throw hit him on the back of his head during the first day of the third Test between India and England in Mumbai.

The 50-year-old had collapsed from the blow and play was stopped for a few minutes. Third umpire Marais Erasmus took Reiffel’s place as the on-field umpire.
England bid to keep India series alive

England batsman Keaton Jennings had played a stroke towards square-leg as fielder Bhuvneshwar Kumar lobbed a throw back in for Cheteshwar Pujara, who stood between Reiffel and the stumps.

Reiffel fell quickly to the ground after the hit and fellow umpire Bruce Oxenford rushed towards him to provide aid.

Saqlain Mushtaq to help England spinners for India ODIs

After basic tests by the England physio, Reiffel walked away from the field before being transported to a nearby hospital for further tests.

This article originally appeared on ESPNCricinfo

Germany’s top court rules Muslim schoolgirls must join swimming lessons

Germany’s top court rules Muslim schoolgirls must join swimming lessons

Germany’s highest court ruled on Wednesday that ultra-conservative Muslim girls must take part in mixed swimming classes at school, finding against an 11-year-old pupil who had argued that even wearing a burkini, or full-body swimsuit, breached Islamic dress codes.

The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe rejected an appeal by the girl’s parents that she should be excused the classes because a burkini did not conform with Islam’s ethic of decency, German media reported.

A spokesman for the court could not be reached for comment.

Germany is in the grip of a heated public debate about the role of Islam in society as it seeks to integrate more than a million mainly Muslim asylum seekers fleeing war and persecution who have entered this year and last.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose conservatives have been punished at the polls in regional elections by voters angry at her open-door policy, on Tuesday proposed a ban on full-face Muslim veils.

Her Christian Democrats, who have been bleeding support to the AfD, a populist party that says Islam is incompatible with the constitution, toughened their tone on integrating migrants at a party conference this week.

Wednesday’s ruling could give more credibility to future attempts by the government to ban the full-face veil after a parliamentary election next year.

‘Hero’ Muslim police officer harassed over hijab in New York

The girl had argued before lower courts that swimming in a burkini revealed the shape of her body, something that goes against her religion.

The Constitutional Court noted that lower courts had found this to be untrue, and further found there were “no binding rules in Islam” to define appropriate clothing.

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 may feature bezel-less display


Samsung’s Galaxy S8 may feature bezel-less display

Samsung’s new smartphone, the S8, which set to be released next year, may feature an edge-to-edge display, and no physical home button, a report from Bloomberg has suggested.

The report also reiterated earlier rumours that the new flagship device will introduce an upgraded digital assistant.

The bezel-less display is expected to provide a bigger viewing screen while maintaining the same overall size for the new phone. The physical home button may be given up in favour of a virtual home button place at the lower section of the screen.

Here are 7 worth waiting ‘features’ of Samsung Galaxy S8

Much is on the line for Samsung as the smartphone giant works to recover from the Note 7 debacle. The ill-fated smartphone was recalled after reports of the device catching fire and exploding costing the company $6 billion.

Meanwhile, the report added, Samsung may introduce OLED screens in its new smartphone, which are a lot thinner than liquid-crystal screens. This new screen technology may offer better colours at lower power consumption.

Samsung Galaxy S8 to feature revamped AI assistant

Samsung’s new device is expected to arrive in March next year, though it can be delayed till April as the tech giant adopts tougher testing procedure for its phones.

Samsung is not the first smartphone maker to venture into bezel-less display territory with Xiaomi and Sony also putting up their concepts, though none have made it to mass production.

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