There are times when people act in such disregard for human life or remains that it becomes unbelievable for one to fathom out the morality or ethics of those involved. Pakistan International PK712 arriving in Lahore on Oct 29, 2017 was the last flight before PIA ceased its iconic route between Pakistan and New York JFK. But for at least two families there was more to distress about than PIA ending its US operations or, even more importantly, recently losing their loved ones. A very dear cousin of mine passed away at the age of 28 years last week in New York and his family decided to bury him along with his grandparents in Pakistan. Considering PIA was the only direct connection between Lahore and New York, we decided to bring his mortal remains accompanied by his elder brother on the same fateful last direct flight between the two cities operated by PIA. The flight arrived in Lahore on Oct 29 at 9:30 pm, 1 hour 40 minutes late from its usual scheduled time. After waiting for another hour or so at PIA’s cargo terminal, we were told the two dead bodies booked from New York never arrived in Lahore. Despite the cargo staff receiving boarding papers for our cargo for custom clearance, they could not locate either of the two dead bodies scheduled to have been loaded onto the aircraft. A frantic and thorough search of the airport tarmac and other cargo terminals ensued which resulted in the conclusion that PIA cargo staff at JFK had loaded and then offloaded the dead bodies to replace it with a pallet containing catering supplies including tea bags, utensils and paper napkins. We, along with family members of the other deceased, spent the whole night at PIA cargo terminal trying to locate our dear brother’s remains at JFK but got no satisfactory explanation or assurance from the PIA staff in New York who were hardly accessible. The only answer we ever got from the PIA station and cargo in-charge at JFK was that they have “located” the cargo, for which, they were unable to share any photo evidence or proof and trying to reschedule it through another carrier. What was totally unbelievable was the fact that for the whole duration of the flight, taxiing or cargo offload time, which would be around 14-15 hours, no one at PIA in New York realized that the pallet containing two dead bodies bound for Lahore was left at JFK cargo tarmac, most possibly unattended, and outside cold storage in the open. It was only when the aircraft was emptied in Lahore, they came to know of the situation. Eventually the bodies lay unattended and unprotected for about 25 hours until the funeral services company took custody. To make the family’s suffering worse, the pallet that replaced dead bodies on the flight contained extra office and catering supplies from PIA’s now closed office in New York and was not even listed on the cargo reference list for the flight. From 10 pm till 7 am in the morning, we sat there waiting for any help, or assistance from PIA regarding the location, safety and rescheduled delivery of the remains of our brother. We left PIA Lahore Cargo Terminal 7 am in the morning on Oct 30 only after the funeral services company reached the airport in New York, took custody of the dead body and sent us proof in pictures and video. The whole next day was spent by the family devastatingly trying to make a decision whether to rebook his remains on another flight ourselves or now to bury him in New York. After no contact from PIA regarding booking the cargo on a replacement flight, the family finally decided to fly back to New York on the day he was supposed to be buried in the presence of his family and loved ones in Pakistan and most likely perform the burial now in the US instead. Till now, we have not received any official call offering assistance, help, or even apology from PIA officials in either New York, Lahore or Karachi HQ. I fail to understand that an airline’s cargo operations or management can be so careless as to leave human remains stranded and unattended for hours at an international airport and not even realize their mistake until the affected party gets involved more than 14 hours later. Also how can the management be so unconcerned with helping the affected party or even properly communicating their assurance or offer of assistance in a situation like this? There are a couple of things we expected from PIA which includes realizing that the said cargo was left behind by the PIA flight and taking care of its immediate and proper storage; rescheduling it via an alternative flight; sharing visual proof as soon as they had apparently located the cargo at JFK, or even promptly arranging for the dead body’s transportation through a partner airline afterwards. Somehow, people fail to realize that one day we all have to die in which case we will also be dependent on others for our last rites and burial. What we have experienced with PIA over the course of last two days has resulted in a family devastated by death of a loved one and the aftermath of a company’s negligence that caused further emergency in arranging for an alternative location for burial away from our dear homeland.