PTI, PML-N lock horns over pilots’ fake licenses issue

Former Punjab government spokesman Shahbaz Gill alleged on Thursday that the former ruling parties PML-N and PPP hired pilots on fake degrees and certificates, a day after Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said 40% of the pilots were holding fake degrees.

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In a statement, Shahbaz Gill said that the 262 pilots, as said by Sarwar, have been found to possess fake credentials.

He said that every department has to be overhauled to make it operational. “Then they ask where is Naya Pakistan? Every department is riddled with corruption and filth,” he said.

Following the incendiary claim by the PTI leader, former ruling party PML-N’s Tala Chaudhry said that those in power should not play the blame game but carry out self-assessment.

“Sugar thieves should not put the blame of their misdeeds on previous [government’s]tenures,” he said.

Chaudhry said that the country’s tragedy is that it has been under a government that does politics over national tragedies as well.

He said that Gill should know that the plane crash took place under the PTI government’s tenure.

Plane crash report points finger at deceased pilot and ATC

On Monday, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan presented the Karachi plane crash preliminary report in the Parliament.

The report held the pilots and the Air Traffic Control (ATC) responsible for the incident, stating that the cockpit crew did not seem focused on the job and were thinking about the coronavirus instead.

After speaking at length about how the tragedy had unfolded, the minister had shed light on the dismal situation of the airline about its pilots, saying that 40% of them were flying aircraft with fake licenses.

“Pakistan has 860 active pilots, which includes PIA, Serene Air, Air Blue. The inquiry which was initiated in February 2019 showed that 262 pilots did not give the exam themselves and asked someone else to give it on their behalf,” the minister said, adding that the pilots did not have the proper flying experience either.

“Pilots are also appointed on political basis, unfortunately,” he said. “Whilst appointing pilots, merit is ignored,” he added, disclosing that in another instance, degrees of four PIA pilots had been found to be fake.

Following the revelation, PIA said it ‘acknowledged’ the preliminary report of the Karachi plane crash that left 97 people dead, saying that it would ground all pilots with “dubious licenses”.

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