Pakistan government cancels ‘fake’ licenses of 50 pilots

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan government have cancelled the licences of 50 commercial pilots following an inquiry in the malpractice during examination process for licences of pilots.

The federal government has informed the Islamabad High Court that to meet the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the authorities have reviewed licences of all 860 commercial pilots and, after thorough scrutiny, cancelled 50 of them, Dawn reported.

According to a report filed by Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar, the pilots were working for the national flag carrier as well as other Pakistani private and foreign airlines.

According to the report, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been given the task to proceed against the pilots who managed to get licences through unfair means.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on January 25 last year requested the aviation secretary for the constitution of a board of inquiry to investigate the malpractice, licences of pilots.

Subsequently, a board of inquiry was constituted and its report concluded that as per the computer data forensic evidence, licences of 262 pilots were based on “fake” examinations.

On June 26, 2020, the CAA grounded the 262 pilots and suspended their licences for verification. The names of 262 pilots were made public to avoid any negative impression about other pilots, including those working outside Pakistan.

However, after verification, 172 licences were cleared and 50, including the petitioner’s licence, failed verification and were cancelled with the approval of the cabinet.

On June 30, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency suspended PIA flights to and over Europe for six months. Such suspensions are lifted only after a satisfactory on-site or remote audit.

The report said that licences of two other pilots were cancelled prior to the inquiry into the matter. Licences of 32 other pilots also failed verification and currently remain suspended. Three pilots had died before the inquiry was conducted. Verification of licences of the remaining three pilots is still under process.