News, Sunday 21st April, 2012 at 1359 hrs (1559 PST)
KARACHI: Passengers on-board an Islamabad-Karachi fight on Sunday escaped unhurt, when the plane suffered a tyre burst during landing at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport, Geo News reported.
The plane of private airline Shaheeh Air coming from Islamabad made emergency landing after developing problems in landing gear.
The runway of the airport has been closed for operations till 05:00 pm and a notification to this effect has been issued. During this period flights would use alternative runway.
According to details, a passenger plane of a private airline Boeing 737-400 made emergency landing.
While talking to Geo News, a female passenger said the plane is tilted towards left side and water is being poured on to the engines. 'There are around 150 passengers.'
Later at Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport, another Shaheen Air Mashad-bound plane had to brought back seconds before takeoff after it was revealed that the fuel was leaking.
How to travel or not to travel at all?
On the face of it, the heading may not appeal to you and till this point I am also completely with you and not against you but not beyond that for sure simply because I have very solid reasons to prove that whatever I wrote in the caption which is nothing but true.
Our population is 173,593,383 which include both men and women who are living inside the territorial limits of Pakistan itself and living overseas in all the continents. I am not sure how many of us are living overseas including me but say for discussion purpose that 100,593,383 are still within the country. In this figure of course all are included namely minors and majors irrespective of their gender are included in this figure and of course they are spread all over the country in different cities, towns and villages right from Karachi to Landikotal, Atarai to Khokarapar, Quetta to Zahidan etc meaning by that a large population is spread over an area of 310,410 square miles which in itself necessitates the concept of travelling and people are obliged to travel for many hard pressing reasons and not just sightseeing and or picnic as one may thought of. Therefore it is quite but natural that Pakistani people also travel within the country which is as normal as any other countries of the world whether it is most developed Europe or semi developed Asia or even under developed Africa for that matter.
Now once it is established beyond slightest shadow of doubt that people simply cannot be glued to one place for an indefinite period and instead moves so the question comes up as to how they move from one place to another. Practically speaking none on the face of earth without any exception whatsoever can be found who did not move at all from his / her birth to death. To the best my knowledge and belief all type of people irrespective of their gender, age, education, profession, ethnicity, height, weight, color, status and religion etc travel by air, by road and by sea and all these three approaches are reckoned worldwide so Pakistan cannot be an exception to the well established international common practice. Before I proceed any further, I must admit with immense pride that luckily all the three options of means of transport are not only readily available in the country but we are using them as well from the day we became an independent sovereign country meaning by since 14th August, 1947.
There are many different methods of transportation in my beloved country like riding on a donkey or donkey cart for that matter, tonga, motorcycle, scooter, cycle and rickshaw etc but I will limit to those means only which we use for covering comparatively longer distances. Air travel, of course, tops in the list and we must be truly proud of not only PIA which is state owned national carrier of the country carrying the slogan ‘great people to fly with’ but we also have some private airlines as well namely Bhoja, Blue and Shaheen. It will be very much pertinent to mention that just three days back Bhoja aircraft from Karachi to Islamabad with 127 bodies on board crashed near Chaklala whereby all of them lost their lives which is one of the greatest tragedies we have faced in the country. What a chance that just yesterday two different flights both operated by Shaheen airlines faced some problems and thanks Allah none died or injured. Islamabad-Karachi flight landed at Karachi with a burst tire and pilot very efficiently safely landed. Lahore-Mashad flight which took off from Lahore had to return immediately since the pilot noticed that there is some leakage in its fuel system. Doesn’t it prove that air travel is too risky and none should fly unless he or she wants to fly on the last flight if his or her life?
What options, when air travel is too risky, are available to Pakistanis to travel within the country then? There are two answers to the question. Alternatively people will have to try to travel by trains but this is not a better proposition in any case though it is cheaper than air travel. The worst is that our trains are not running on time so if someone is already running against time and wants to catch up then he or she is just gambling with his or her luck as the train may not reach his or her destination on time I am afraid. There is yet another inhering problem because at times fish plates laid on railway tracks are removed by outlaws who are beyond our reach in any case so we hear the news that train has been derailed. At times even people have fired bullets on the running trains whereby some innocent lives have been lost and wounded in such attacks. So who will travel with a train and on what ground?
We simply cannot rule out the possibility of travelling by buses and if I am not mistaken we have some buses which run even from one end to another like Karachi to Peshawar or Quetta to Swat whereas we simply cannot count as to how are intercity buses running in between. Certainly bus is the cheapest of all and therefore countless people are travelling round the clock from not only one city to another city or town but even to other provinces. So far so good but bus travel is not danger free I must warn. You too must have seen photos wherein some people who are travelling like passengers in a bus, coach or coaster loot their co-passengers on gun point. So who knows who is sitting next to you? Who did not read the news that a gang of criminals laid stones and bricks on the road and as and when any bus etc came there, they forcefully board the bus and looted and if someone did not surrender and offered any resistance then he or she is not only looted but killed or injured as well. May I ask which man or woman will still travel by bus, wagon or coaster?
The last option could be that people travel by their private cars from one city to another and I have myself travelled alike between Lahore and Islamabad in the golden years when I was in Pakistan till 1976 but regretfully it is no more alike in the country whose green passport I still hold and will hold till my death. Many times people who have travelled in their private cars have either met with fatal road accidents where even human lives are lost or they have been stopped by outlaws and deprived of their valuables like cash, jewelry, watch and mobile etc. However, there had been some unlucky ones who in addition to handing over all their valuables had to gift their car too as a gift to the vagabonds just to save their lives. I have my serious doubts that any prudent person will yet prefer to go by road in his or her personal car.
Who volunteers to travel by air, train or road in my beloved Pakistan, I ask individually and collectively all 100,593,893?
Iqbal Hadi Zaidi / Kuwait /