A month after the news of the possession of fake licences by 40 percent of all Pakistani pilots broke, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) refuted the accusation by claiming the matter had been dealt with improperly and misconstrued immensely. However, the truth value of their statement is up for debate.

In regards to aviation, Pakistan has been under immense scrutiny. PIA’s international rating was downgraded just as the EU, followed by the US, suspended all PIA flights to and from the country. Even the International Air Transport Association declared its concerns regarding the safety of flights in the country. Under such duress, the sudden claim that none of 262 licences were fake arouses suspicion. If they issued ‘genuine and valid’ licences, or re-verified all the credentials and have indeed come upon conclusive positive results, surely proof of the procedure should be made public to the deceived population and the international community—those that have lost confidence in our national aviation authorities.

On the other hand, an argument could be made that such claims come from the desire to mitigate the harms caused to the flight industry. The aviation minister’s report on the Karachi plane crash incriminated the pilot after which investigations into their credentials were initiated. Subsequently, the CAA itself admitted that certain discrepancies related to examinations had existed. They gave assurances that the implicated pilots were off-duty indefinitely and subject to enquiries. As such, to take on an approach which negates all previous claims, proof and the entire matter is futile if the objective is to preserve the sanctity of the industry without cleaning house.

If the aim is to rebuild a tarnished reputation, letters claiming how the issue has been misinterpreted being sent to various institutions across the world are likely to be ineffective. Instead, refining processes, ensuring accountability and adhering to transparency would be the best way to move forward.