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Identification of bodies could take time, loved ones told

ISLAMABAD: Friends and relatives of the 47 victims of PK-661, the Pakistan International Airlines

(PIA) flight that crashed in Havelian while travelling from Chitral to Islamabad on Wednesday,

have been asked to provide DNA samples from parents or close blood relatives of the deceased for

testing.

If it is not possible to provide DNA samples from parents, the second option is samples from

children, the third from siblings and more distant relatives, like cousins will be the last

option.

Wali Khan, a relative of passenger Salman Zainul Abideen, said Pims has insisted that a blood

sample from a close relative is required. A number of distant relatives of the deceased

passengers have been trying to contact close blood relations of the victims and have called for

samples from distant relatives to be accepted.

Molecular biologist Prof Dr Riazuddin explained that forensic DNA sampling is a complicated

process and it takes nearly 10 days to finish one sample.
Relatives of PK-661 crash victims told to submit samples for DNA testing

“Whenever bodies are burnt, the DNA sample is taken from bone marrow. There are 13 loci in DNA

that are inherited from the parents, and the length of a locus is measured to identify the body’s

parents,” he said.

“The other option is to take children’s’ samples, because it is easy to match the locus. The

third option is siblings, because the locus has some differences so it needs to be extrapolated

in the process – only twins have the same locus.”

Dr Riaz said in response to a question that although forensic DNA testing is available in

Islamabad, including at the Police Forensic Lab and Khan Research Laboratories, it would be

better to send the samples to the Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology at Punjab University

in Lahore, which is the best laboratory in the country.

Pims Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram told Dawn the DNA sampling is done on the same parameters

used by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.

He said because some bodies were dismembered, 44 samples were taken to first match them with each

other.

He said five bodies – a flight attendant, two Airport Security Force officials and two other men

from Chitral – have been identified, and a woman is in the process of being identified using

rings she was wearing. “Blood samples were collected from 35 relatives, and we are trying to

contact the remaining relatives for samples,” he added.

He said samples are being collected from the bodies at Ayub Teaching Hospital in Abbotabad and

Pims, and the DNA tests will be held at KRL and the Police Forensic Lab in Islamabad. Samples

will only be sent to Lahore in case of necessary samples.

A member of the Chitral’s royal family, Tayyaba Aziz, 20, was travelling to Islamabad with her

father Farhad Aziz to take an admissions test at the National University of Science and

Technology. While her father’s body has been identified, hers was unrecognisable.

A relative of Farhad Aziz, Khush Waqt, told Dawn that he arrived at Pims at 9am on Thursday and

waited for the bodies of his relatives until noon. “I called Tayyaba’s brother to give a blood

sample. We will shift Farhad’s body and wait for Tayyaba’s,” he said.

Wali Khan said he was satisfied with the arrangements made by various government departments at

Pims, but he, along with other relatives of the victims, called for a joint investigation team to

ascertain what happened to the plane.

“We have been hearing that the plane was already out of order. If that is correct, I can say that

it was not an accident, it was a murder of 47 people and the culprits should be punished,” Mr

Khan said.

The brother and mother-in-law of evangelist Junaid Jamshed also came to Pims, and Humayun Jamshed

submitted a sample. They left after they were told it would take a few days to recognise the

bodies, the Pims vice chancellor said.

At a camp set up by the PIA at the hospital, Director General Mujtaba Naqvi said: “It will take a

few days to confirm the identities of the bodies and hand them over to the relatives.”

Dr Javed Akram said relatives will be told when to collect the coffins once they have been

identified.

courtesy : dawn news

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