India

Pak Aviation Minister under fire after CAA declares all licenses ‘genuine’

<br>The statement issued by the CAA is a direct contradiction to the Minister's allegations, who said that at least 40 per cent of Pakistani pilots possessed fake licenses.

“It is important to clarify that all CPL/ATPL pilot licenses issued by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are genuine and validly issued. None of the pilots licenses are fake, rather the matter has been misconstrued and incorrectly highlighted in the media/social media”, maintained a letter written by CAA Director General Hassan Nisar Jamy in a latter to high-ranking aviation officials of Oman.

“CAA had already verified/cleared 96 Pakistani pilots out of 104 names received from various civil aviation authorities/foreign airlines (UAE/GACA, Vietnam Airlines, Bahrain Air, Civil Aviation Malaysia, Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department and Turkish Airlines),” read the letter.

The revelation made by the CAA has put the Aviation Minister in hot water as opposition parties have demanded immediate resignation, along with accountability of the minister.

The opposition parties in the National Assembly and the Senate standing committee faced the Minister with serious uproar.

“The Minister, through his false statement had caused a daily loss of Rs.500 million to the Pakistani International Airline (PIA) and removal of about 200 pilots from various airlines and damaged the national prestige at the international level,” said Nafisa Shah, Member National Assembly (MNA) of the opposition the Pakistan People Party (PPP).

“Various aviation agencies of the world have already sent letters to us. Tomorrow, our air space can be handed over to some other country. This is treason,” she said, while demanding an immediate resignation of the Minister.

The issue was also brought up at the Senate standing committee where oppoisiton party leaders raised the issue, stating that “it was a wrong move by the aviation minister which had damaged Pakistan's reputation”.

However, the Aviation Minister came out in defensce of his remarks, stating that he had declared the licenses of the pilots as “dubious” and not “fake”.

“It might be damaging for the country in short term but for the future it was important to show the world through actions that we are improving our systems,” he said.

The issue of fake licenses of Pakistani pilots attracted global attention as global destinations, airlines and air safety agencies had suspended authorization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The issue brought global embarrassment to Pakistan and was declared as the biggest aviation scam in the global aviation industry.

The Aviation Minister's remarks the prompted European Union Air Safety Agency to suspend PIA authorization to operate to the EU member states for six months, while the International Air Transport Association (IATA) also shared its concern over the serious lapse in the licensing and safety oversight by the aviation regulator.

The US Department of Transportation had also revoked permission for the PIA to conduct charter flights to America and downgraded Pakistan's air safety rating after the agency raised concerns about pilot certifications.

–IANS<br>hamza/ksk/<br>

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