Sunday Jul 05, 2020
LAHORE: Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi lashed out at the incumbent government and said they released a wrong list of ‘fake’ pilots, bringing a bad name to the Civil Aviation Authority and creating problems for competent Pakistani pilots across the world, reported The News.
Speaking to the media on Saturday, Abbasi pointed out that out of 141 pilots mentioned in the list, 26 did not work for PIA, two were martyred in the Havelian crash, six had already retired, data regarding 29 pilots was incorrect, 10 had challenged it in the court, the status of seven was completely unknown, while there were 18 who had not even gotten their licences at all.
The PML-N leader said it was suspected that the remaining 43 pilots were on duty the same day they appeared for their exams.
The former prime minister said the CAA should issue a show-cause notice to these pilots and allow them to explain their position, which was their right. “The rules dictate that action must be taken against those found guilty within 30 days,” he said.
Abbasi demanded action against ‘fake’ pilots under the Civil Aviation Rules 1994, instead of paying only lip service on the issue.
The PML-N leader said the world was doubting the authenticity of Pakistani pilots and the CAA’s abilities after the PTI government levelled accusations even before conducting an investigation into the matter.
He warned that inaction, inability to reform and remediate could jeopardise the country’s aviation industry. “A board of inquiry should be established to allow the accused a chance to explain their status and plead their case. The government reversed the entire process by first punishing the pilots by grounding them, issuing lists and then thought about investigating the matter,” Abbasi said.
The former prime minister said he had been contacted by some 50 Pakistani pilots working for international airlines, who were competent, but were now fearing for their careers as the mishandling of the matter had tainted every Pakistani pilot indiscriminately.
Abbasi stressed that he firmly believed that all those found guilty of cheating and using unfair means to pass the test must be banished from the industry forever, adding that when a pilot was given an aircraft, he was entrusted with the lives of hundreds.
“CAA had the authority to cancel licences of the guilty pilots, but no licence has been revoked thus far. Show-cause notices were issued to 28 pilots, many of whom moved the court,” he said. “These licences had no direct connection with the air crash investigation as the investigations were a means to identify the causes of accidents to prevent future disasters.”
He added, “The matter of pilot licencing purely relates to the CAA and because of the mishandling of the matter, the entire world was now doubting the capability of Pakistan's Civil Aviation.”
Abbasi added that the government must investigate the matter through due process and take strict action against those found at fault.
Originally published in The News