Tag Archives: PIA

Cabinet approves formation of Sugar Reforms Committee

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved formation of a high-powered Sugar Reforms Committee to devise a long-term strategy to reform the sugar sector in the light of recommendations of an inquiry commission.

The committee was proposed by federal Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar.

The cabinet meeting that was presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan feared that there would be a new spike in coronavirus cases in the country if the people did not follow preventive measures during holidays for Eidul Azha.

The meeting also thoroughly discussed the issue of alleged fake professional degrees of pilots of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). It was informed that 450 pilots of the national flag carrier had been cleared and 37 suspended for having suspected credentials.

The cabinet held a detailed discussion on the sugar sector and review how to bring reforms in it, said Information Minister Shibli Faraz in a post-cabinet meeting press conference.

The high-powered committee will be tasked to devise long-term strategy to reform sugar sector

The recent forensic audit report of the sugar inquiry commission noted that basic regulation was lacking and called for improvement in the regulatory system. The state’s regulatory institutions — State Bank of Pakistan, National Accountability Bureau and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) — should step up their regulations, it said.

It also recommended that assistant commissioners and deputy commissioners should ensure that farmers were paid their full dues and that technology be used for bookkeeping and a mechanism be developed to “recover the looted amount”.

Meanwhile, a source said that the prime minister said in the cabinet meeting that no one involved in the recent sugar scam would be spared and that an across-the-board accountability would be ensured.

Some top leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), including Jahangir Khan Tareen, are allegedly involved in the sugar scandal.

The sugar commission was constituted by the government in the first week of April following the release of two separate inquiry reports by the FIA on the issue of artificial shortage of sugar and wheat in the country and sudden increase in their prices last year.

After the report’s release, the opposition had demanded that the premier take stern action against those who had been declared responsible for the crisis by the FIA committee.

PIA crisis

According to the source, the cabinet was informed that 28 pilots of PIA had been dismissed from the service and 37 were suspended for allegedly having suspected credentials.

The meeting was apprised that 450 PIA pilots have been cleared.

Likewise, out of 104 pilots of other airlines 100 have been cleared and the case of four others was said to be in process.

Five officials of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have also been suspended and now the government has decided to initiate criminal proceedings against those who have fake and suspected degrees.

PIA to ground 150 pilots with ‘dubious licenses’

RAWALPINDI: The management of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has decided to ground its 150 pilots.

Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan disclosed in the National Assembly on Wednesday that a large number of commercial pilots possessed ‘dubious licences’.

PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez told Dawn that “about 150 pilots are being grounded.”

He said the management has now written to the Civil Aviation Authority to urgently provide the list of other licences found to be dubious and all of them will be indefinitely grounded pending inquiries against them.

“Those found at fault will be terminated from service after following a due process,” he said.

Probe into ATR pilot’s credentials began after plane skidded off Panjgur runway in 2018

The spokesman acknowledged the findings of the preliminary investigation report shared with the parliament by the aviation minister on the plane crash of May 22 which claimed 97 lives and reaffirmed PIA’s resolve for further improving safety standards within the company using the findings of the report as guiding principles.

He said that the investigations into dubious licences issued by the aviation regulator were highlighted by the PIA itself in the aftermath of the incident occurred in Panjgur in November 2018 where an ATR skidded off the runway, using the same hot and high approach and then making some elementary level mistakes.

That incident prompted an inquiry into the pilot’s credentials which were found to be dubious. The same was reported to the regulator and the PIA requested the government to constitute a highlevel inquiry into the matter which the aviation minister ordered immediately.

A thorough forensic audit was conducted into the licences of all the pilots obtained within the country. The PIA management continuously followed up for expediting the inquiry process and highest executive office of the country also intervened.

Meanwhile, the PIA tracked another 15 such pilots and all of them were grounded pending clearance from the inquiry board. That did cost PIA Rs175-200 million in terms of salaries of such pilots, not to mention additional perks and privileges.

The spokesperson said that based on the internal assessment of the situation consequent to this tragic event, the PIA will be making additional recommendations to the regulatory authority for further improvement which is the order of the day, saying that the regulator would be needed to firm up and bring about zero-tolerance towards misdemeanours in the grant and checking of licences.

Mr Hafeez said some of flights may be cancelled consequently but safety takes precedence over commercial interests and only pilots with impeccable service records and clear credentials will operate the flights.

He said in order to ensure that safety is never compromised again, a Flight Data Monitoring Unit has been established through which now the PIA will itself measure, analyse and identify trends of PIA flights network-wide for corrective or preventive measures based on international established commercial aviation standards.