FIA to Investigate Pilots Possessing Fake Licenses

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Pakistan has been given strict orders by the government. The agency has been told to start criminally prosecuting 50 commercial pilots who are carrying fake licenses. These licenses were suspended by the relevant authorities soon after an inquiry was carried out into the plane crash in the city of Karachi. All 50 of these pilots had licenses that could not be verified. 

The federal government presented a written statement to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) regarding this matter. It stated that 172 from a total of 262 pilots have been deemed as trained professionals, fit to fly planes. 

They had been previously thoroughly investigated due to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash on the 22nd of May. However, the inquiry was completed just recently and all these pilots were cleared after being verified. 

The statement further added that the licenses of the remaining 50 pilots have been canceled because they could not be verified by the authorities. The federal cabinet went on to approve an in-depth summary of the reason behind the cancellation of these licenses. 

The government additionally informed the IHC that the FIA has been told about these recent developments and thus, entrusted with the authority to investigate them further. They further outlined that the FIA will consequently begin criminal proceedings against the concerned pilots. Moreover, no pilot with a fake license is going to be granted any sort of relief or leniency as per Article 199. 

On the 22nd of May, a plane belonging to PIA crashed a few kilometers away from the runway. The devastation was borne by a densely populated residential area in the city of Karachi. The plane had been trying to make an emergency landing after failing once before. 97 casualties occurred from a total of 91 passengers and 8 members of the crew. 

On the 26th of June, Ghulam Sarwar, the Minister for Aviation, had made an announcement. He reported that investigations were being conducted during which, 262 pilots had been banned from flying. This was because their credentials had come under suspicion and required to be thoroughly vetted. 

The pilots that came under scrutiny included 10 belonging to Serene Airlines, 141 from the PIA, along with 9 from Air Blue. The rest did not belong to any airlines rather, to chartered plane services and flying clubs. 

International publications spread the word about the plane crash and the consequent suspension of pilots. This caused the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to ban PIA from operating in Europe for at least six months. 

The US department of transportations also did not hold back from suspending authorization of the PIA to operate in the country. On the 9th of July, the relevant department suspended the company’s special permit after citing concerns related to the flag carriers’ pilots’ involvement in fake licenses. The department was also unsatisfied with the PIA’s safety measures in case of an emergency. 

The statement informed the IHC that the restrictions placed by EASA will only be lifted after it conducts a remote or onsite audit of the national flag carrier. This audit has been scheduled to take place in January of next year.