Saturday Jun 27, 2020
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Musaddik Malik landed himself in hot waters after he said on national television that a journalist “should be set on fire” for not being respectful enough towards victims of the PIA plane crash tragedy.
“This Tahir [the journalist] sahib, I don’t know who he is. Is he the head of some organisation? He came on television and said that our international image is being destroyed [by the revelation of deep-rooted issues in PIA],” the senator said in a video clip which has now gone viral on social media.
“We should throw such an international image into the fire and we should set fire to Tahir sahib who came [on TV] and said something like this and made a mockery of all of us,” an enraged Malik could be heard saying.
“Our plane crashed, should we not conduct an investigation and if there is a failure should we not go after whoever failed? Should we not do a root cause analysis?,” he questioned.
Tahir Imran, an investigative reporter with the BBC, in a post on Twitter called out Malik for his remarks.
“I've just been attacked on live TV show by this man Musadik Malik who instigated violence against me to "burn me alive". I am shaking after hearing this hate filled and vicious comment from this man who represents PML-N. Is this what PML-N stands for Maryam Nawaz Sharif,” Imran said in his tweet.
To this, the PML-N leader responded that he deeply regretted using the strong language.
“Dear Tahir, I just saw the clip. I deeply regret using strong language in the heat of the moment. A friend was burnt alive with hundred other people in the flight. We all mourn!,” he said.
Malik added, “A comprehensive investigation must be done, irrespective of the image, and root causes must be removed.”
“It’s good to see that you have accepted your fault and apologized for the behavior," the journalist responded. "We can all disagree with respect. I respect your opinion and will defend your right to express it in civil manner. My sympathy for your loss and I also want full, across the board inquiry. Thank you."
Aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had on Friday announced that the credentials of 262 pilots in the country are "dubious" and thus they will be barred from flying.
The pilots in the line of fire include 141 from Pakistan International Airlines, nine from Air Blue and 10 from Serene Airline, said the minister.
The rest of the 262 belong to flying clubs or chartered plane services, he said. He said all the airlines and the clubs had been conveyed that: “Their credentials are dubious, and they shouldn’t be allowed to fly.”
Sarwar's revelations about the extent of the rot in the aviation industry sent off shockwaves around the world.
CNN journalist Richard Quest on Friday said it was the most “extraordinary” story in aviation.
“It is not prevalent elsewhere. This is the most extraordinary story in aviation. Dubious licenses. 'Fake' licenses — how the investigators put it in the Pakistan aircraft investigation,” he said.
In PIA, perhaps a third of its pilots did not have the correct licensing, he noted.
Clarifying the fact that the pilots flying the recently crashed aircraft of flight PK-8303, did have licenses, he said: “There were a raft of other issues in the way they were flying the plane.”
He said that the fact that a country is admitting that there are dubious pilot licenses in the commercial airline sector "beggars belief", adding that it raises "some serious questions" about the safety of airline operations in Pakistan.
Speaking of elsewhere in the world, he said: "We have had isolated cases where pilots have been flying for decades on forged and outdated [documents], but they always turn out to be very good pilots who just didn’t have the right paperwork. This is not that case, this is a case of wholesale fraud."
“People flying that shouldn’t have been flying — it’s a scandal,” he added.