Recover all pays, allowances from pilots with fake degrees

They should be subjected to summary trials: Those who failed to detect the degrees are not genuine, should also be proceeded against

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 04:42 PM, 28 Jun, 2020
Recover all pays, allowances from pilots with fake degrees

The initial probe into the PIA plane’s crash in Karachi that caused the death of 97 people on board has led to a more shocking revelation: 150 of the national airline’s 434 pilots have "either bogus or suspicious licences".

According to the information the aviation minister shared with the legislature, more than 260 of the country's 860 active pilots have either fake licences or had cheated in their exams.

In the light of these findings, the PIA has grounded 150 pilots, a development that has brought the country humiliation at the international level. It has tarnished the country’s image and the international media are ridiculing the national flag carrier that used to be the pride of the country in good old days.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the irregularities found in pilot licences at the airline represent a "serious lapse" in safety controls.

According to a media report, since 1965, PIA has suffered 10 major crashes and several minor incidents. Inquiries have been held but they don't seem to have led to any improvements.

Favouritism politics has led to large-scale recruitments, making it one of the most overstaffed airlines in the world.

A spokesperson for the national carrier said those pilots who get their licences verified will be allowed back on duty. “Grounding so many pilots will affect the PIA flight operation”.

According to the spokesperson, six pilots with fake degrees have already been dismissed.

The initial report should be an eye-opener for the nation. Now it should be clear why the PIA is going down and down with the passage of time. The presence of so many pilots with fake and suspicious degrees shows that the PIA is a dead organization and no section thereof is working. Had this not been the case, fake degrees would have been traced long ago and the holders shown the door.

The decline of the PIA had started decades ago. During the Zia era, Dr Mehboobul Haq (minister for finance, planning and development) had said at a ceremony at the Faletti’s that PIA stands for “Perhaps I Arrive”.

This was a good comment on its safety standards.

There were also complaints about the lack of response to the suggestions made to improve the situation in the national flag carrier.

On this Dr Haq said: “Please Inform Allah”.

(The writer was present at the ceremony where ‘praises’ were showered on the PIA.)

Successive political governments failed to diagnose the problems leading to the gradual demise of the national flag carrier. Instead, they only added to its burden by making more and more political recruitments just to oblige their favourites.

The situation in the PIA will not normalize and it will not be a viable commercial organization unless drastic measures are taken by those in power.

First of all, all pilots with fake degrees should be subjected to summary trial by military courts and awarded exemplary punishments. In case a summery trial is not possible for legal reasons, a presidential ordinance should be promulgated to remove the obstacles.

All such pilots should be made to pay back all the salaries, allowances and benefits they got during their service. Even money spent on their stay abroad in top hotels in connection with their duty should be recovered from them. Their properties should be confiscated without consideration for their families as they were the beneficiaries of their cheating. They deserve no leniency at all.

Their pictures should be published by the media so that the nation could recognize them and they don’t get opportunity to defraud any other organization.

There is also an urgent need to take strict action against those who had failed to detect that degrees of these pilots were fake, suspicious.

The high-ups who recruited these ‘pilots’ should also be proceeded against.

Likewise, the elements who issued fake licences should also be subjected to exemplary punishments.

From the number of pilots with fake licences it appears as if such degrees are easily available in the market. The police should be tasked with tracing such ‘degree awarding’ mills and be proceeded against without delay.