Saturday September 18, 2021

‘CAA’s process of granting licenses to pilots suspicious’

APP
December 09, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah on Tuesday observed that the Civil Aviation Authority's procedure of granting licenses to pilots is suspicious.

The chief justice noted that the CAA has now clarified that the information pertaining to fake licenses of 262 pilots was wrong. Accountability was necessary and someone must be made responsible for that negligence, Justice Minallah said, adding that the image of national airline, Pakistani nation and its pilots was badly damaged internationally. He gave these remarks during hearing a petition filed by a pilot Syed Saqlain Akhter challenging the cancellation of his license and termination from job.

Addressing the CAA's counsel, the chief justice asked if the country was run under the law or the wishes of someone. Meanwhile, Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar submitted the notification of appointment of DG which was appreciated by the bench. The petitioner's counsel pleaded that the appointment of DG CAA was against the orders of the court. The Chief Justice said that it was the job of the federal government. It was not legally clear in law how a DG would be appointed, no matter who appoints the DG.

The petitioner''s lawyer prayed the bench to declare the suspension of his client s license as illegal act. At this, the court asked that who would decide the suspension or restoration of the pilot license, whether any disciplinary inquiry was taken against the pilot. The court asked the petitioner's lawyer not to hurry. The petitioner's lawyer said show cause notice was issued to his client twice and we submitted a reply. The Board of Inquiry Commission was formed by the secretary CAA, he said. The court asked Additional Attorney General that under what law this commission was formed and who were the people involved in it? The whole issue started with this Board of Inquiry, Justice Minallah noted. The petitioner s counsel said that the report of the Board of Inquiry was never received.The bench asked where was it written in the law that the federal government could temporarily appoint someone as DG or secretary, the Lahore High Court did not order the secretary to issue show cause notice. The secretary of CAA, considering himself DG, issued a show cause notice to pilot, the bench said. There was no monarchy, how did the secretary process the issue? The bench remarked that entire national airline had been destroyed because of the one issue. When Justice Athar Minallah said that secretary CAA couldn t be the DG, the AAG said that this issue has just been resolved. The Chief Justice asked the CAA's advocate that whether the names of 262 pilots were given by the board of inquiry. Does this country run under the law or the wishes of someone? You didn t know the nature of this issue, the bench said. The court also asked the CAA lawyer that if the new DG had asked you to give such arguments.Did the Supreme Court ask the secretary CAA to conduct inquiry? Did the top court ask secretary CAA to misuse his powers, the chief justice questioned? The court expressed annoyance with CAA lawyer for giving reference of Supreme Court and said that a statement was made on the floor of the parliament about PIA. The CAA lawyer told the court that only names of 28 pilots surfaced after fact finding by the internal inquiry. The court remarked that now it was also clarified that the number 262 was wrong, adding that who is responsible for it? AAG Tariq Khokhar said that the new DG CAA would look into the matter now.

The court said the image of the national airline, the Pakistani nation and its pilots was damaged internationally. The court noted that the services of PIA was suspended and our pilots abroad suffered due to the irresponsibility. It was very disappointing that how the issue of the pilots was handled, the court said.

The AAG requested the court to grant some time so that he could assist the bench after taking instructions from the federation. After listening to the arguments from both sides, the court also declared the decision of board of inquiry dated February 22, as null and void.

The court said that the issue of petitioner pilot Saqlain Akhter would be viewed by new DG CAA. However, the pilot couldn t be able to fly a plane until his license was cleared, the court said. The court further said it would not issue any directives to PIA so far for restoring his services.