–Faraz says all steps afoot to restore PIA’s past glory; pilots now operating flights are 100pc clean
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Syed Shibli Faraz on Thursday said that all the pilots, currently operating Pakistan International Airlines flights (PIA), 100 per cent clean and clear to fly a plane after passing through a complete scrutiny.
Addressing a joint press conference along with Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi and PM’s aide Shahzad Akbar on Thursday, the information minister said the government is making all-out efforts to restore the past glory of the national flag carrier.
The information minister said that all the pilots, currently flying airplanes, have successfully gone through the scrutiny process. “Anyone travelling right now should know that pilots flying right now have gone through the scrutiny process,” he added.
Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi said when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government came into power, it discovered some “irregularities” in the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). “We verified the charges and immediately 54 people were grounded and a detailed forensic inquiry was initiated under wraps of the whole organisation,” he said.
He said that the inquiry found that a new licencing system was introduced in 2010. Out of all the licences granted till 2018, the inquiry found that there were 236 which had irregularities, he said, adding that the pilots were then grounded and suspended.
“Our target is safety first. We will prioritise safety so that all the question marks that have been raised can be addressed,” he said, adding that that the CAA is now taking steps to strengthen its IT systems. He further said that officials found guilty of being involved have been suspended pending an investigation.
“Everyone involved will be taken to task. By the time this inquiry is finished, which will be in a few months, the CAA will become the top authority when it comes to safety and PIA will become one of the region’s top airlines,” he further said, adding that this was inevitable once all the “bad eggs” were removed from the system.
Defending the government’s decision to make the information public, the minister said that the current government is of the people.
“This is an issue of safety and about improving institutions. When you take the public on board, you change public perception. I will give you a simple example. When parents see their child being administered an injection, they feel pain but they know that it is necessary for their child’s future. So, this is necessary for our future […] we have to bear the pain so that we can see an improvement.”