Govt says 172 Pakistani pilots cleared so far

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 19 (DNA): The federal government has said that of the 262
Pakistani pilots suspected of having dubious licenses, 172 have been
cleared after verification of their credentials.

The Pakistan International Airlines came under heavy scrutiny this year
after one of its planes came down among houses in Karachi, killing 98
people.

A furore later erupted after it emerged dozens of Pakistan pilots may
have been holding fake or dubious licenses, leading the US and EU to
temporarily bar the airline.

There were 262 commercial pilots in the country whose licenses were
dubious, according to Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan.

A pilot had filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court after he was
terminated from his job. The pilot had made the federal government party
to the case.

The court had sought a reply from the respondent, which was submitted by
Deputy Attorney General Syed Tayyab Shah on Saturday.

In its reply, the government said that 172 Pakistani pilots had been
cleared after verification of their credentials.

The licenses of 50 pilots had been cancelled and their cases forwarded
to the FIA for criminal proceedings.

The restriction on the PIA to operate in Europe for six months can be
lifted after the on-site or remote audit in January 2021, the government
said. The European Union Air Safety Agency had barred the PIA on June
30.

It said the matter was linked with the coronavirus suo moto case in the
Supreme Court, requesting the high court not to proceed for now.

The FIA had yet to complete its inquiry hence any pilot suspected of
holding dubious credentials should not be given relief, it requested.

The court is expected to set a date for hearing of the case next week.

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