ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) was informed on Thursday by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that 24 pilots and 67 crew-members of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) have fake degrees.
A CAA representative further informed the apex court that seven out of the 24 pilots have stay orders from the court and added that the verification process of 1,972 PIA employees and their degrees has been completed. 17 pilots of the national airline have resigned or left their posts, the seven remaining are continuing on the basis of their stay order.
Top judge seeks record of private planes’ movements, pilots with fake degrees
The report submitted by Sajid Ilyas Bhatti on behalf of the CAA in the SC says that none of the pilots in the private airlines held fake degrees. "That out of 451 PIA pilots at present, the degree/certificates of 319 have been verified and found to be genuine by PIA. This certificate/degree of 124 pilots are under process. There are seven pilots with bogus degrees who are working because of stay orders passed by courts in their favour."
"The private airlines; Shaheen Air, Air Blue and Serene Air requested time to verify degrees of their pilots and cabin crew as they stated they had never done this exercise before. The CAA's committee directed them through letters that this exercise needs to be completed in one month positively," the report read.
The top court also summoned the chief executive officers (CEOs) of all national airlines, including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at the apex court's Karachi Registry next week.
Director Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Nasir Shah appeared in court and informed the bench that PM Abbasi is the CEO and president of Air Blue company. "We summon the CEO of Air Blue," the CJP ordered.
"He will present himself as the chief of Air Blue and not as the prime minister," Justice Nisar said, adding that the issue is a grave conflict of interest. "The chiefs of PIA, Serene, Shaheen and Air Blue are all summoned," he added.
The summon pertains to a case relating to fake degrees obtained by pilots. The three-member bench fixed the appearance of the top officers of the airline after deliberating for four months on the case.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar also remarked that in the past four months, no report was submitted.
In January, Justice Nisar had issued directives to the CAA director general Karachi to produce the record of movement of private aircraft on all airports during the last 15 days.
Justice Nisar had also directed the official to submit the inquiry report pertaining to appointments of pilots made on the basis of fake degrees or certificates.
CJP expresses regret over ‘sexist’ comment
The aviation authority had terminated the services of at least 39 workers on charges of fake degrees in 2016.
In 2014, as many as 300 PIA employees were sacked for having fake degrees, in compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court.
According to PIA, out of the 6,000 degrees of their employees that had been verified by various universities and institutions, 350 degrees were found fake.