ISLAMABAD - Former Prime Minister and Senior Vice President Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has asked the government to immediately proceed against the 262 pilots under Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Rules 1994.

Addressing a news conference here Saturday, he hoped that the pilots allegedly possessing fake licences would be given an opportunity to be heard before deciding their fate. “CAA should immediately constitute a Board of Inquiry and issue show-cause notices to these 262 pilots,” he demanded.

He was of the view that the government acted against these pilots in haste. The government should have finalised the proceedings in the light of the charges against these pilots before making it public, he suggested. “The government, on the contrary, announced that they [pilots] were possessing fake licences, grounded them but yet no inquiry has been completed against them,” he lamented.

The PML-N leader said that out of 262, over 50 pilots were out of the country at present and were quite worried about their future. “Out of 141, 26 pilots are not with PIA, two died in Havelian crash, 6 got retired, data of 29 is not correct, 10 are in the courts, status of 7 is not clear, 18 are those who have not been issued ATPL licence so far,” he told the media and added the government has no clear record of these pilots. He, however, said that licences of 43 out of the 262 pilots became suspicious as they were found on duty on the very day they appeared in the licence exam.

He suggested that the 262 pilots be given show-cause notice immediately and inquiry should be held against them and hoped they would be give an opportunity to prove their innocence.

He said under the rules, the Board of Inquiry should complete the proceedings within 30 days. He recommended that the licence of the pilots who cheated in the exam, whether they were in the list or not, must be revoked and they must be expelled from their jobs and barred from this profession.

He said that after one year of starting the investigation, the CAA had so far not cancelled any of the ‘fake’ licences. He said there had been some other issues linked with the CAA licences as well.

Shahid Khaqan said the recent PIA plane crash had nothing to do with CAA licences. He also suggested the authorities to proceed against those who got employed in PIA on the basis of fake degrees and those who favoured them in the process overlooking their fake credentials.

He said the episode had cast suspicion over the CAA capacity and capability. He said the government acted in haste against the pilots as action must have been taken before announcing the facts. He asked the government to immediately take corrective action and restore image of CAA and Pakistan’s aviation sector.