ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA) is going to challenge in the Supreme Court (SC) the list of 262 pilots provided by the government claiming that they had suspicious flying licences. Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan had told the National Assembly on June 24 that 262 pilots, out of total 860 pilots in the country, had suspicious flying licences and would be grounded immediately. Later on June 27, he in a press conference gave details of the 262 pilots. He had said that degrees of 30 more pilots out of the 262 suspected of obtaining dubious licences have turned out to be fake and they have been terminated.

The minister had said that out of the overall pilots who were alleged to have dubious credentials, 141 of them belong to the PIA while nine of them work for Air Blue and Serene Air. They are grounded immediately, he had said.

According to the minister, the forensic inquiry revealed that 121 of the pilots got their licences by cheating in one exam paper; 39 in 2 exam papers; 21 in 3 exam papers; 15 in 4 exam papers; 11 in 5 exam papers; 11 in 6 exam papers, 10 in 7 exam papers and 34 pilots in 8 exam papers.

The PALPA, however, while rejecting the list of 262 pilots provided by the government said that the list is not authentic and decided to challenge it in the Supreme Court. “We have consulted with the senior lawyers and will challenge the list in the Supreme Court soon”, Captain Chaudhry Salman Riaz, President PALPA confirmed to The News on Wednesday.

He termed the figures of 141 pilots as claimed by the government that they belong to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) as suspicious. He said that out of 141, 39 pilots have already left the PIA while 4 pilots embraced martyrdom in different incidents. Similarly, he said that names of 29 other pilots are also not authentic.

The PALPA president said that the government did not provide them the said list of 262 pilots whose licences as claimed by the government are suspicious. He said that they got the list from the Licensing Branch of Civil Aviation Authority, adding that the said branch keeps the whole record. Capitan Chaudhry Salman Riaz said that instead of taking list from the said branch, the government took the list from Aviation Division.

Meanwhile, Captain Imran Norajo, Secretary General PALPA said out of list of 262 pilots, they have so far received list of 171 pilots belonging to PIA, Shaheen Air, Air Blue and Serene Air but expressed grave concerns that still they have not yet been provided list of remaining 91 pilots. “We have requested the concerned authority to provide the list of the remaining 91 pilots but so far we did not get it”, PALPA secretary said.

Meanwhile, he too confirmed that they will file a petition in the Supreme Court either on the day, the apex court resume the suo moto case taken on the said matter or before it challenging the list of 262 pilots claimed by the government that their flying licences are suspicious.

It is pertinent to mention here that Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed on June 25 while heading a five-member bench hearing suo moto case regarding COVID-19 had taken notice of the pilots with fake licences.