LAHORE – The PIA management has recommended names of four officers for promotion from Group-6 to Group-7, whose educational degrees were challenged by their colleagues in the Lahore High Court (LHC) while the case is still under proceedings, sources in the national flag carrier confided to The Nation on Thursday.

It is worth mentioning that the LHC had issued notice to the PIA MD a year ago and asked him to submit a report, for reportedly promoting seven officers to the next grade on fake degrees. The PIA has been using delaying tactics and now even has placed the names of four of the controversial officers in the promotion board held Thursday.

PIA employees Mudassar Hassan Rana, Muhammad Arshad Khan and others had filed a petition in the court, claiming that the seven officers working in the Marketing and Sales Department and promoted to the next grade did not hold the degrees recognised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) or any other controlling institution. They said the promotion of these officers was against the law, policy and procedure.

They took plea in their petition that the management had promoted the said officers - Reservation and Ticketing Officers (RTOs) Muhammad Ijaz, Qaisera Tabassum, Irfan Basit, Tanveer Qasim and Israr-ul-Haq besides Sales Promotion Officers (SPOs) Wajid Saleem and Rao Muhammad Arif – from Group-5 to Group-6. And now on Thursday, the management recommended four officers - Wajid Saleem, Qaisera Tabassum, Rao Arif and Israr Ahmad - for further promotion from Group-6 to Group-7.

The petitioners claimed that the management had promoted 25 officers from Group-5 to Group-6, but 90 per cent of them were holding fake degrees issued by Alkhair University and other universities, which had been blacklisted by the court or they did not have any campus in Lahore or Karachi, where these officer could attend classes.

They further argued their case, saying as per record, the promoted officers remained present on their duty in Lahore at the time showed as if they attended classes in Azad Kashmir.

Mudassar and Arshad further claimed that these officers neither obtained NOC from the airlines nor requested leave to take examination of said degrees. They even claimed that they had 100 per cent proofs for challenging their degrees and same exercise was being done in Karachi and other cities. They accused the PIA management of not passing the said officers from any sort of test or examination to verify their qualification. They said all these promotions were done on political grounds.

They also disclosed an interesting thing that the said university management was offering a scheme in this regard - if a candidate manages four people to purchase the MBA or any other degree, the fifth one will be given to him free of cost as a prize. They claimed that the PIA employees were facing anxiety, as the bonafide employees - who were holding real degrees - were not being promoted to the next grade.

The PIA spokesman could not be contacted despite repeated efforts to contact on his cell phone.