LAHORE – The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has finalised the names of two officers for promotion from Group-6 to Group-7, though their degrees have been challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC), sources said on Monday.

The PIA management plans to promote Senior Sales Promotion Officer (SPO) Wajid Saleem and Reservation and Ticketing Officer (RTO) Israr Ahmad from Group-6 to Group-7.

These officers were promoted thrice in the past three years. Their colleagues have challenged their degrees in the LHC and the case is pending. A senior officer, who qualifies for the promotion, said an officer got such a promotion after 20 to 25 years through proper channel.

PIA employees, including Mudassar Hassan Rana and Muhammad Arshad Khan, filed the petition in the court, alleging that seven fake degree-holder officers of the Marketing and Sales Department got promotion in violation of rules and regulations.

These officials are RTOs Muhammad Ijaz, Qaisera Tabassum, Irfan Basit, Tanveer Qasim, Israrul Haq, and Ahmad as well as SPOsWajid Saleem and Rao Muhammad Arif. A year ago, the LHC issued a notice to the PIA managing director and asked him to submit a report to the court. However, the management used delaying tactics and after a year, it promoted two officers to the next grade on controversial degrees.

The airlines had fired 200 employees for submitting fake degrees at the time of hiring in 2010. A PIA officer told TheNation that the action was taken because these employees failed to get their degrees endorsed by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) despite repeated warnings.

When contacted, a spokesperson for the airline said: “I can comment after consulting with the Human Resource Department.” He, however, said the Promotion Committee finalised such cases.