The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday reserved verdict on a petition seeking the dismissal of Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah took up the petition that called for a judicial commission to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the issue of dubious licences by pilots.
The petition was filed by Advocate Tariq Asad who argued that the aviation minister gave irresponsible statements regarding pilots of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) which tarnished the image of the nation.
Asad added that due to the minister’s comments, the country has become a laughing stock in the world.
The chief justice said that a detailed judgment over the matter will be issued later.
The minister, while presenting the preliminary report of the PIA plane crash, had told the House that 40% of pilots in the country 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.
Following the minister’s comments, PIA said it had grounded 150 pilots with “dubious licenses”, stating that those pilots who get their licenses verified will be allowed back on duty.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on Tuesday suspended PIA’s air operations permit for a period of six months, the national carrier’s spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez Khan said.
The suspension will take effect on July 1, at 12 noon UTC time, he said.