ISLAMABAD             -          Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Friday said that the list containing names and license details of 141 pilots of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) having suspicious licenses had been sent to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) PIA with a request that they must not be allowed to fly further.

He said the details of the remaining 262 pilots with suspicious licenses were being shared with their employers as well so that they could be disallowed to fly. Besides this, he said, after having met all the legal formalities/procedures, the case for the termination of 28 pilots would be placed before the federal cabinet for its approval. Addressing a press conference, the minister said all these 28 pilots were served show-cause notices, given opportunity for personal hearing already and 9 of them had also confessed having fake licenses.

Giving details of the 262 pilots found with fake licenses, Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that they included 10 from SereneAir, 17 from ex-Shaheen and others. All these are suspicious cases, he added. “Forensic inquiry has revealed that of these 121 are whose 1 exam paper was bogus (someone else appeared at their place), 39 with 2 bogus papers, 21 with 3 bogus papers, 15 with 4 bogus exam papers, 11 with 5 bogus papers, 11 with 6 bogus papers, 10 with 7 bogus papers and 34 pilots with 8 bogus papers, making it a total of 262,” he said.

The minister said that there were two types of licenses, one was Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) and the other was Airline Transport Pilot Licence. He said out of the 262 suspicious cases 109 held Commercial Pilot Licence and 153 held Airline Transport Pilot Licence.

The minister said that the lists of these pilots had been shared with all the concerned authorities. Chief Executive Officer PIA Karachi had been sent names of 141 pilots. The names were also available on the website of CAA along with license details, the minister said.

Similarly, the minister said, airblue had been sent a list of 9 pilots having suspicious credentials. “Though they [airblue] are challenging the number but as per our record, they are 9,” he added.

The minister said that SereneAir had been sent names of 10 pilots with details after forensic inquiry confirmed their licenses were fake.

The details of the remaining over 100 pilots, the minister said, working with different chartered flights, private flights, flying clubs, foreign airlines etc. had also been posted on CAA website. Their concerned departments would also be contacted in the coming days, he added.

Giving details about the action taken against the culprits, the minister said that some officials of CAA Licensing Authority were also found involved in fake license scam. He said 5 of the officials had been suspended on the same charges. The suspended staff of CAA included Asif ul Haq, Faisal Mansoor Ansari, Abdul Rahees, Khalid and Syed Adeel Aftab, the minister informed. “They have been suspended and an inquiry has been ordered against them,” the minister said.

“The Law Department is also being consulted to initiate criminal inquiry against them,” the minister said and added that some 3 to 4 outsiders were also involved in the scam. He said that the concerned departments had been informed about them as well to start criminal proceedings against them. “They will also be prosecuted”, the minister made it clear.

Commenting on the scam, the minister said all this happened before 2018. “From 2010-2018. It started in the PPP tenure and continued till caretaker set up. We are busy cleaning the filth created in the past,” he said.

The minister said that 600 plus fake degree-holders had already been terminated on the orders of the Supreme Court. “Some 280 people were terminated by this government,” he told the media.

The minister said that the case for the termination of 28 pilots would be taken to the federal cabinet for its approval. They would be terminated and criminal action would also be initiated against them, he said. He assured that the action would be completed by the end of the year.

He said that the PTI government was mandated with taking action against fake degrees, licenses, out-of-merit recruitments and hoped that the state departments would be put on right track by 2021.

He said that the PIA would also be revived as per new business plan as he hoped that the fleet would be taken from 31 planes to 45 planes. “Only the qualified and competent will survive,” he said as he termed out-of-merit appointments, and politicizing of the state departments as main reason for their decline. “We will de-politicize the public departments and also promote merit,” he assured.