Chinese doctors, coronavirus relief supplies arrive in Pakistan

In this handout photograph taken and released by the Pakistan's Press Information Department (PID) on March 28, 2020, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (R) greets Chinese doctors upon their arrival at the Islamabad International airport in Islamabad. (AFP via PID)
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Updated 29 March 2020

Chinese doctors, coronavirus relief supplies arrive in Pakistan

  • FM Qureshi received the medical team at Islamabad airport
  • Chinese government and private donations for coronavirus relief includes test kits, PPE, face masks and funding support for an isolation hospital

ISLAMABAD: A special plane from China carrying an eight member medical team and relief assistance for Pakistan’s fight against the coronavirus touched down in Islamabad on Saturday, according to state-owned Radio Pakistan.
The novel coronavirus first broke out in China’s Hubei province late last year, and was declared a global pandemic by the WHO in January 2020. To date, it has claimed about 28,000 deaths around the world with surging rates of infection.
Through stringent containment measures, China was able to stem virus cases on its soil, and this week, the original epicenter of the deadly outbreak, Wuhan City, relaxed lockdown measures for the first time in months. Pakistan’s current cases of the infection stand at roughly 1,400 with 11 people dead and the numbers rising every day. Partial lockdowns have been imposed in some provinces.
China’s state assistance to its western neighbor so far includes 12,000 test kits, 300,000 face masks, 10,000 protective suits for health care workers on the disease front-lines, as well as funding support to build an isolation hospital, according to the foreign office.
The medical team from China are experts in dealing with the coronavirus and will remain in Pakistan for two weeks, the foreign office said. FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi personally received the Chinese medial experts at Islamabad airport.
“We are grateful, this is a unique relationship. And such times tell us how close we are to each other,” Qureshi said at the event.
Additionally, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Foundation and the Ali Baba foundation have donated 50,000 test kits and 500,000 face masks to Pakistan, the foreign office said.
Through the Khunjerab Pass earlier this week, China also provided over two tons of masks, test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment. Pakistan has also been the recipient of considerable private donations from China.
Earlier this month, President Arif Alvi and a contingent of high level officials including FM Qureshi visited Beijing to express solidarity with China in its fight against the virus.


Pakistani aviation authority says PIA pilot ignored air traffic control

Updated 03 June 2020

Pakistani aviation authority says PIA pilot ignored air traffic control

  • PK 8303 crashed on May 22 while trying to land after the pilots reported the loss of both engines
  • The plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data box are being decoded in France

KARACHI: Pakistani aviation authorities have told Pakistan International Airlines that the pilot of a passenger plane that crashed into a residential district of Karachi last month had ignored air traffic control’s instructions for landing, a PIA spokesman said on Wednesday.
The PIA Airbus A320 crashed on May 22 while trying to land after the pilots reported the loss of both engines. Ninety seven people on board were killed and two survived. At least one person was reported to have died on the ground.
Initial reports suggested the plane scraped its engines along the runway on a first attempt to land following what appeared to be an unstable approach, arriving steep and fast.
In a letter sent to PIA, the Civil Aviation Authority said an approach controller twice told the pilot to discontinue its approach as he came into land but he did not comply.
As it neared landing, the plane’s ground speed was above the runway threshold, the letter quoted the controller as saying.
It lifted up from the runway surface and crashed over Model Colony while attempting a second approach, the letter said.
“Yes, we have received the letter, they are documenting it,” Abdullah Hafeez Khan, PIA’s general manager for corporate communications told Reuters.
He declined to comment on the assertions made in the letter.
The flight had been observed as being high for approach at as it passed Makli, about 100 km east of Karachi, but the pilot said he was comfortable for the descent, the letter said. He was also cautioned a second time.
The plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data box are being decoded in France by French air accident agency BEA.
Pakistan’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said that an initial report on the crash will be presented to parliament on June 22.
Aviation safety experts say air crashes typically have multiple causes and it is too early to determine the reasons behind the air disaster, which is Pakistan’s worst since 2012.