The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) says the verification process of pilots’ licences conducted by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) is dubious, noting that it is now clear that the information that the licences of 262 pilots are fake is incorrect.
An inquiry into the May 22, 2020 Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash in Model Colony located near the Karachi airport in which 97 of the 99 passengers and crew members on board were killed, had revealed that most of the pilots of the national airliner and other airlines possessed dubious licences.
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In June, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan disclosed the details of the inquiry, saying that 262 pilots having false credentials will be grounded. Of them, he said, 141 were from PIA, nine from Air Blue and 10 from Serene Air while the remaining were affiliated with flying clubs, chartered plane services or foreign airlines.
This photo shows the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane landing. File photo
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition filed by a pilot, Syed Saqlain Akhter, against his dismissal. "Now, accountability is also necessary. Someone has to be held responsible as this has done a lot of damage to the country's image,” the top judge said. Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar also agreed with the court.
The chief justice came down hard on the PCAA lawyer, asking whether the PCAA operates on anyone's wishes or according to the law. "Such statements [information that 262 licences are fake] have damaged the image of the country. The way the issue of pilots’ licences was handled is very disappointing. The national airline’s service to European countries has been suspended and our overseas pilots have been affected.”The pilot’s lawyer apprised the court that his client has been accused of putting another person in his place for the exams and obtaining the licence. He prayed the court that the notice of cancellation of licence on July 14 and dismissal on July 21 be declared null and void as the notices were issued in violation of the law by the PCAA secretary, who was "illegally” holding the post of the additional director general.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court ordered the release after both sides said they had reached an amicable settlement of the dispute, involving two planes leased to PIA, a lawyer for the airline said.
The first flight PK9702 will carry more than 250 passengers from Manchester to Islamabad and the next flight PK9785 will airlift passengers from Islamabad to London are scheduled for Aug.14 and 15 respectively, PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said.
The pilots were suspended earlier this month after authorities in Pakistan discovered that up to a third of the country's pilots may have falsified their qualifications.
PIA issued a statement citing chief executive Arshad Malik as welcoming the ICAO conclusion as a positive development for aviation in Pakistan, which would pave the way for the resumption of PIA flights to Britain and the rest of Europe.
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