PIA Affairs In Supreme Court: Fake Degrees, AGP’s Damning Report On Losses

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ISLAMABAD — A day after the country’s top court was told that academic credentials of seven pilots of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had been found to be bogus and five of them had not even done matric, the national carrier on Saturday terminated the contracts of three pilots, including 50 cabin crew members on grounds they possessed fake degrees.

“We have begun probe into [the cases of] all staffers who were hired [while] holding sham degrees,” PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar told media.

These individuals had managed to obtain gainful employment in the national airline using fake degrees.

Tajwar added that action will be taken against all employees found culpable.

Meanwhile, Director General of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Hassan Baig has issued directives to suspend the licenses of all those pilots and cabin crews who have not yet submitted their degrees and certificates.

“Their licenses will remain suspended till they submit their referred documents for verification,” read an official statement.

Earlier on Friday, the Supreme Court was told that 5 pilots have not even done matric (High School).

The CAA revealed before the Supreme Court bench that academic credentials of seven pilots of the national airline (PIA) had been found to be bogus and five of them had not even done matric.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing a matter relating to the verification of degrees of pilots and other staff of the national flag carrier.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan, a member of the three-judge bench, observed that a non-matric person could not even drive a bus but such individuals had been flying planes, putting the lives of passengers in danger.

The Chief Justice asked the national carrier which has been piling up huge losses since a decade, to submit a list of its all 498 pilots along with their result of license examination — Airline Transport Passport Licenses and Commercial Pilot License.

The CAA legal adviser told the bench that the authority had been facing difficulties in completing the degrees’ verification process due to non-cooperation of educational boards and universities. The counsel said the PIA was also delaying furnishing record of its employees of its employees, including pilots and cabin crew.

The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) report submitted to the top court this year said the national airline has been incurring losses (Rs360 billion accumulated between 2008 and 2017) due to inefficiencies, mismanagement, incompetency and gross violation of rules and procedures.

The report also criticized the Board of Directors (BoD): “So far 44 members of the BoD of the PIAC were nominated by the various governments during 2008-17. None of them had relevant experience of the aviation industry. The majority members were serving/retired civil/military bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen. The role of the BoD committees’ was also not up to the mark in guiding the board in various strategies issues. The exorbitant pay and allowances were granted to MDs/CEOs in violation of instruction of the Ministry of Finance.”

An efficient and dynamic BoD may be constituted, and the policy of merit-based appointments, transfers, postings be adopted, it recommended.

Considered a sick state enterprise, the newly elected PTI government has announced it will opt for turnaround rather than its sale or going for public-private partnership.

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