PTI govt red-faced as CAA declares all pilots’ licences genuine

Shehbaz Sharif terms it a charge-sheet: Nafisa demands Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar’s resignation

By: News Desk      Published: 03:41 PM, 16 Jul, 2020
PTI govt red-faced as CAA declares all pilots’ licences genuine
File photo.

The PTI government on Thursday left red-faced following the admission by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority that licences of all the pilots are genuine, triggering a fresh controversy days after Federal Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan claimed in the National Assembly that 262 pilots had fake licences, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Thursday.

Reacting to the CAA declaration, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan for causing a loss of billions of rupees to the PIA and humiliating the country around the world.

Shehbaz Sharif said the CAA's confirmation that all pilot licences issued to the pilots was a charge sheet against the PTI government.

Through their ill-considered actions, they had damaged the PIA and inflicted heavy loss of billions of rupees on the exchequer in addition to bringing a bad name to the country, Shehbaz said in a tweet.

Similarly, PPP Information Secretary Nafisa Shah demanded the resignation of Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan amid latest controversy over a letter written by the CAA in which it was stated that said none of pilots had a bogus licence.

Addressing the National Assembly, she said the minister should resign if the CAA was right, those running the CAA should resign if the minister was right.

In the letter, the CAA notified its counterparts in Oman, Kuwait and other countries that all the licences were genuine in complete contrast with what Ghulam Sarwar has been saying.

The issue had been “misconstrued and incorrectly highlighted in the media/ social media”, the letter said while shifting the blame despite the fact that the government has repeatedly declared that the licences are fake.

“All Commercial Pilot Licenses and Airline Transport Pilot Licenses issued by Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority are genuine and validly issued,” the letter read.

The minister has triggered a huge storm and embarrassment at international level after he said that the 262 pilots out of a total of 860 in Pakistan had fake licences. However, the word fake was later replaced with dubious soon after repercussions were felt for the country around the globe

The European Union and the United States have barred the PIA from operating its flights while several airlines grounded the Pakistani pilots and engineers till verification.

Nafisa said the PIA was destroyed by a minister’s statement. “It is enmity with the country. Who will be answerable for this,” she added.

“A national organisation has been destroyed. It is treachery against the country,” said Nafisa. “The PIA has been destroyed but the Etihad Airways flights are operating.”

On a point of order, Murtaza Javed Abbasi of PML-N too blasted the government over the issue and said the aviation minister’s statement in the House was fake, not the pilots.

He said the minister’s statement had humiliated the country and demanded formation of a National Assembly committee to investigate the matter.