ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Aviation has opposed the termination of services of those employees of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) who hold fake degrees.
The committee headed by Senator Mushahidullah Khan was apprised by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that verification of educational credentials of Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited (PIACL) employees was an ongoing process, under which it is currently dealing with 1,200 cases of fake certificates and degrees.
PIACL COO Ejaz Mazhar informed the panel that 402 such employees have been terminated while 35 cases are under process of disciplinary proceedings, whereas 263 employees have approached courts for stay order and more suspicious degrees are being verified.
CAA Director General Hassan Baig also told the committee that the authority had suspended licences of pilots and cabin crew members having fake academic credentials, while directives had also been issued to suspend the licences of all pilots and cabin crew members who had not yet submitted their degrees and certificates.
The panel was also informed that 90 per cent work regarding action against fake degrees had been completed after the Supreme Court took notice of the issue.
Committee Chairperson Mushahidullah Khan said the issue of fake degrees is serious and rather than depriving people of their jobs, their salaries should be reduced.
No one should be rendered unemployed for having a fake degree, he said, adding that those deprived of their jobs would lose their livelihood. He further said the top court had ordered action against those holding fake degrees but not of depriving them of employment.
“Why action is not being taken against those who hired them,” asked Khan, to which PIA authorities told the committee that almost all of them had retired. The chairman asked for action to be taken against them even if they had retired.
Likewise, the committee recommended criminal proceedings against those responsible for verification of the degrees at the time of appointment who did not verify credentials of the newly inducted employees.
It was also disclosed during the meeting that seven employees were hired on verbal orders and an office had been provided to them at the airport. Expressing concern on the issue, the committee said justification for giving employment to these persons should be provided along with their job descriptions.
PIA authorities further told the committee salaries of these seven persons are paid by the defence ministry and they are there for supporting the PIA staff. The Senate committee was unsatisfied by the answer and summoned the PIA chairman.
Moreover, commenting on an incident of breakage of a passenger seat in business class of PK-786 allocated to Senator Samina Saeed while travelling from UK (Heathrow) to Islamabad on December 16, COO Mazhar apologised and said the seats had been repaired. About an incident of a passengers boarding bridge collapse at the Islamabad International Airport, the committee was informed that a board of inquiry had been constituted to ascertain the reasons of the incident.
The chairman constituted a sub-committee headed by Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo and comprising Senators Sherry Rehman and Samina Saeed to look into the fake degree cases and the bridge collapse incident and prepare a comprehensive report on the issues. (With additional input from APP)