I refer of course to the awesome Muhammad Saleh Zaafir who has humbly revealed all the above-mentioned skills in his piece in The News today as part of his "eye-witness" account of the Airblue crash yesterday. Don't quite believe me? Let me offer you a guide.
The great man himself
The back-page item in The News is titled "I Saw The Plane Just Before Crash", which sounds authentically Mr Zaafir, grammar and all. You may argue that lots of people saw the plane just before the crash, since it was flying low over Islamabad, but then the lots of people do not have the skills that Mr Zaafir possesses.
"I was sitting in the outer veranda of my house in the lap of the Margalla Hills on the fateful moments of Wednesday morning. It was heavily overcast and rain was pouring in, as I heard the boom of a plane flying on exceptionally low altitude parallel to seventh avenue with less speed that was heading towards the hills and I could, in less than a second, imagine that the plane was going to face some devastation because in no manner it was higher than the peaks of lush green hills."
See? Not only is Mr Zaafir able to hear the "boom" of a low flying commercial airliner, he deduces from the sound that the plane is flying "parallel to seventh avenue." Only experience can teach you that. But that is not all. His razor-sharp detective mind takes "less than a second" to "imagine" a devastating end for it. Don't believe for even less than a second that most people who saw the low-flying plane might have feared the same, this is real psychic power.
"Strangely the engine noise was depressed and one could assess that it was flying without required power."You have to be in awe of a man, who while chilling on his veranda, is able to detect that the engine of "booming" plane is "without required power." Respect.
"Next second I heard huge bang and as I returned to my room, I came to know about the inevitable crash of the plane. Later, it was revealed that the plane was of a private airline."
Okay, so it seems Mr Zaafir never actually saw the plane, since he only talks about sounds, but that just makes his extra-sensory powers that much more acute. It might also seem that Mr Zaafir's inability to put two and two together - that he needed to return to his room, presumably to catch the news on TV, to figure out what the "huge bang" was all about - betrays some weakness of mind. But you'd be wrong. All it shows is the maturity of a veteran journalist, who does not rush to conclusions. And most psychics focus on the bigger picture, so not getting the tail-markings of the plane is no big deal.
"The planes to be landed at Chaklala airbase must have their approach away from the
Faisal Avenueand Faisal Mosque and their direction should be towards but the ill-fated plane was flying in opposite direction. To my assessment the plan was out of control of the pilot, as he was trying to move away from the city. The Margalla top where the plan crashed is hardly three kilometres from the Presidency, Prime Minister’s House and the Parliament House." Rawalpindi
This is where Mr Zaafir reveals his flying expertise. Okay, so he gets a minor fact wrong and commercial airliners do not in fact land at the military Chaklala airbase, but Chaklala is right next to Islamabad airport so it's irrelevant in the larger scheme of things. The point is Mr Zaafir is not only able to diagnose engine problems of flying aircraft from his verandah but also able to peer with his amazing X-ray vision into the cockpit of such aircraft. Incidentally, this Karachi edition report, stupidly cut out a major revelation that did appear in the Islamabad edition of The News. Mr Zaafir was actually able to tell that the pilot had been "overpowered", presumably by a dastardly evildoer. I don't understand why he has not yet been drafted into the official investigation team. He could be like that "empath" Forrest Whitaker character in Species, able to feel things nobody else can see. Thankfully, the Karachi edition did not cut out the implied connection Mr Zaafir makes with political issues. Just a word to the wise, that's always been Mr Zaafir's motto.
"Well placed aviation sources told The News later that the pilot was in constant contact with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) of Chaklala airbase. The radar had throughout been guiding the pilot but it was failed in issuing warning to him that he had entered into a wrong terrain. The radar helped him in avoiding Kahuta but the radar could not detect it heading towards the hills without gaining required altitude. The probe and Black Box recording will establish what was transpired in last conversation of the pilot and the control room."
Mr Zaafir didn't really need to refer to anonymous "well placed aviation sources" for information that basically everyone had already reported directly from the Civil Aviation Authority (minus the Chaklala / Islamabad airport mixup) but I believe this just shows his innate humility. I also think he is being unduly self-effacing by referring to the probe and the black box recordings. We all know that Mr Zaafir already has all the answers.
"The sources say that the pilots who fly to and fromNow this may sound counter-intuitive to lay readers; that's why we should be glad to have Mr Zaafir's breadth of expertise and of course his incisive sources.
are always advised to stay away from the Margalla hilltops..." Islamabad
"..and in case they have to fly over the federal capital, they are to essentially fly at least two thousands feet higher than the top. In case the pilot fails to keep away from Kahuta approach, he is required to take right turn over theFurther proof, if any were needed, of Mr Zaafir's in-depth knowledge of flying, especially in Islamabad. My only complaint is that our self-effacing eye/ear-witness ends with this feint:
or if the turn is on the left, it must be clear of the Margalla Hills. No pilot is supposed to cross the Rawal Lake Jinnah Avenueparallel to the Blue Area. The ill-fated plane not only crossed the red line but again it did not assume the required altitude in the area where low flying means death and destruction."
"It is a mind-boggling puzzle for the aviators what forced so experienced pilot to cross the red line and why the radar failed in offering correct guidance to him."
Come on Mr Zaafir, don't tease us at this tragic time. Just tell us what I am sure you already have pieced together on your verandah.