Airbus team arrives in Pakistan for PIA plane crash probe

Pakistan army personnel remove debris from a residential street where a Pakistan’s International Airlines’ jet crashed on Friday. May 23, 2020 (AN Photo by S.A. Babar)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Airbus team arrives in Pakistan for PIA plane crash probe

  • PK8303 had crashed near Karachi airport on Friday, killing 97 out of 99 people on board
  • Airbus team will assist Pakistani officials in determining the cause of the crash

KARACHI: An Airbus team of investigators arrived in Karachi on Tuesday to probe the reasons for a plane crash involving a Pakistan International Airlines' (PIA) flight five days ago, a PIA spokesman told Arab News.

"The team arrived at Karachi airport at 5:38 am and will visit the spot of the accident after a briefing later during the day,” Abdullah Khan said.

The A320 Airbus was carrying 99 passengers  from Lahore on PK 8303 when it crashed in a densely-populated residential area of Karachi, near the Jinnah International Airport, on Friday, just 22 minutes before landing.

The 11-member team of french experts, representing the European aircraft manufacturer, will assist the Pakistani side in investigating the incident.

Two passengers miraculously survived the tragic incident which claimed the lives of 97 people on board. No fatalities were reported on the ground, however, where several houses were damaged in a narrow street.

“The (Airbus) team will visit the (crash) site in the Model Colony area of the city as shifting of the plane’s debris from the site has also been stopped,” Radio Pakistan reported.

Pakistan’s seven-member team has already started investigating the incident.

It was the second PIA plane crash in less than four years. In 2016, a domestic flight of the national air career from Chitral to Islamabad crashed in a hilly area in which all 47 passengers and crew members lost their lives.

Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said after the crash that “Captain Sajjad Gull (who was flying the plane) was senior most A320 pilot with extensive flight experience.” He added that “the aircraft involved in the crash was 16 years old and was in a very good condition.”

According to the minister, the A320 joined the PIA fleet on dry lease six years ago and underwent its major A-check in March 2020.

“The aircraft carried out eight flights since 21st March, 2020, when the domestic and international flights were suspended in view of efforts to control the spread of COVID-19,” he informed.

Use of contraceptives to bring down Pakistan's population growth rate to 1.1% – official

Updated 08 July 2020

Use of contraceptives to bring down Pakistan's population growth rate to 1.1% – official

  • More than five million babies are born in the country every year
  • Pakistan also plans to reduce maternal mortality rate from 170 to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030

KARACHI: Pakistan plans to encourage the use of contraceptives to bring down its current population growth rate from 2.4 percent to 1.1 percent by 2030, a senior official told Arab News on Tuesday.
The country has developed a National Action Plan (NAP) to implement the recommendations of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) approved in 2018 to address the challenge of population growth.
“The plan consists of various components, such as population fund, legislation, curriculum and trainings, and talking to ulema [or religious scholars],” Dr. Shahid Hanif, Director General of the Population Program Wing (PPW), said.
It also seeks to increase the present contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) of 34 percent to 50 percent by 2025 and 60 percent by 2030 to lower the existing average population growth rate of 2.4 percent to 1.5 percent by 2025 and to 1.1 percent by 2030. Officials say they hope to achieve these targets by reducing the present fertility rate of 3.6 births per woman to 2.8 births by 2025 and 2.2 births per woman by 2030.
At the current rate, the annual population grows by an average of more than five million newborn babies per year. After the growth rate is brought down to 1.1 percent, however, the average addition would be down to 2.3 million on an annual basis, keeping in view the country’s current population of 211.17 million.
The country’s federal and provincial administrations are taking steps to ensure universal access to family planning and reproductive health care services. The federal government wants to create a five-year non-lapsable special fund to reduce the population growth rate with an annual allocation of Rs 10 billion. The fund will be set up exclusively from federal resources without any cut from the provincial funds, according to the latest Economic Survey of Pakistan.
“Provinces have been given funding for more lady health workers and commodities [contraceptives] since the federal government will provide a matching grant to them,” Hanif said
One of the functions of the Population Program Wing is to ensure contraceptive commodity security, supply chain management and warehousing of contraceptives for provincial and regional population welfare departments.
A Contraceptives Commodity Security Working Group (CCSWG) has also been established to ensure the availability of birth control commodities, their timely procurement, pooled distribution, stock assessment and data availability etc
“With a manageable population, we will be able to utilize our resources more effectively for the welfare of people and our national economy. This is important since about two-third of Pakistan’s population is below the age of 20. These people need education, health and other facilities. If these individuals don’t get basic necessities, the country may witness huge social disruption in the future,” Hanif added.
However, he categorically ruled out that the country was considering “one child” policy, saying “it was never discussed nor thought about.”
The reduction of maternal mortality rate from 170 to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030 is also among the objectives of the plan.