Pakistan Government cancels licences of 50 pilots

The Pakistan government has cancelled the licences of 50 pilots for flying with fake credentials and authorities will probe how they obtained the certificates through unfair means, the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has informed a top court here.

According to the report, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been given the task to proceed against the pilots who managed to get licences through unfair means. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on January 25 last year requested the aviation secretary for the constitution of a board of inquiry to investigate the malpractice, omission/commission observed during the process/conduct of examination for licences of pilots. The authorities have reviewed licences of all 860 commercial pilots and, after thorough scrutiny, cancelled 50 of them, Dawn reported. The issue of fake licences surfaced in the wake of the tragic crash of a Pakistan International Airlines plane in Karachi on May 22, killing 97 people, when Minister of Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan told the media that 260 of the country’s 860 active pilots had either fake licences or had cheated in their exams. Their names were made public to avoid any negative impression about other pilots, including those working outside Pakistan.

The pilots were working for the national flag carrier PIA as well as other Pakistani private and foreign airlines, said a report filed by Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar in response to a petition submitted by pilot Syed Saqlain Haider, whose credentials have been found to be fake. The scandal led to a huge embarrassment for Pakistan and the PIA, and the European Union (EU) banned its flights.