A Tale of Woes

The Nation was yet to recover from the affliction caused by the sore calamity of PIA crash “PK8303” on the 22nd May 2020, but for some, it became an opportunity to gain the limelight.

On June 24, 2020, The Aviation Minister “Ghulam Sarwar Khan” was to submit a preliminary report for the painful ordeal, instead, became a publicity stunt. The report surfaced as a pandora box claiming a list of a total “262” pilots who gained charge of a flying license/certificate & privileges through misdemeanor.

This scourged the aviation industry, which was already under the curse of the pandemic “COVID-19” and emerged as a global controversy. In two shakes, this ball game caught the eyes of the giants “EASA” and “ICAO”. Political collateral damage has been done! With consequences so catastrophic, darning might be eternal. Defamation, flights debarred, pilots dishonored & sacked, Nation served with Ignominy BUT the envoy has never been asked as to what were the grounds / or findings which lead to such chaos?

We, as a Nation, have become immune to be hushed and remain soundless against such diplomats/premier class, giving them ‘Carte Blanche’ to practice illegitimate deportments.

FACTS & FINDINGS

The Alleged Pilots & employees of the Authority effectuated by such disservice & bigotry, thus, as a ‘Hobson’s choice’, directed themselves to the relevant legal Court’s. The ongoing Court proceedings unveiled such facts against the fiasco which is yet again a reflection of an ineptitude / botched administration.

1) The Minister’s claim for the list of ‘262” alleged/dubious pilots to be authentic, has been led down by PCAA itself by identifying and clearing ‘180’ pilots amongst the list of the same, out of 262. The aforementioned is further justified by the order of the Hon’ble Islamabad High Court, WP No.2040 / 2020, dated 24.11.2020, which states, “It appears that the statement made by Minister for Aviation on the floor of the National Assembly was not correct. This gross mishandling of the issue and a reckless statement regarding 262 licenses has indeed caused loss and damage to the National Airline besides tarnishing the image of the country”. Thus, the statement of the said envoy for the same remains indefensible. Yet, the minister has not been held accountable for inequities & impieties.

2) Minister’s claim for the list of ‘262’ alleged/dubious pilots, was an upshot of “Board Of Inquiry (BOI)”. The constitution of the BOI was challenged before the Lahore High Court. Proceedings were disposed of with directions to the Federal Government to treat pleadings filed as objections to the constitution of the BOI. Moreover, astonishingly, the report of the BOI never surfaced on any platform. A Legal Order dated 03.03.2021, of Special Court (central)-II, Karachi, confirms & states “The prosecution has based its case on the recommendations of BOI but no such report of BOI recommending initiation of action against the accused has been produced before this court. There is no report of BOI on record to see what were the findings of the committee against the applicants / accused and what role has been assigned to each of them in the commission of the offense”. This confirms that the allegations and claims regarding the matter remain ‘unwarranted’ & ‘groundless’.

3) Sources confirm, that two of the three members of the ‘BOI’ refused to sign the document, as they claim the report to be un-authentic / depreciate the facts stated. This came as a shocker, as to the report of the inquiry, which emerged as chaos for the said industry on a global platform, actually “does not exist!”.

4) The Minister & relevant authorities claim the list (of dubious/alleged Pilots) to be authenticated by a thorough forensic investigation process. To date, no such forensic report has been surfaced on any platform despite been asked for a number of times by the relevant courts. An order dated 03.03.2021, Special Court (central)-II Karachi, highlighted the matter in a public manner. “The I.O (Investigation Officer) told this court that forensic report is awaited but could not reply as to how forensic report can be prepared when no data has been collected/secured under mashirnama from computer / hard drive or main server of the system from the licensing branch, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)”. In addition to the above, the order further states, “The report shows that Naveed Shoaib’s services were hired by the BOI who is I.T Forensic Expert but the list of witnesses filed with interim charge sheet filed before this court shows that such I.T Expert has neither examined, nor his statement has been recorded till today”. This order clarifies that no investigation has ever taken place / has never been documented, yet we faced mortification on such an immense level, keeping in mind that the alleged Pilots and officials have already been executed by the regulator on unsubstantiated accusations.

5) It was observed, that the Ex-Director General (DGCAA) “Mr. Hassan Nasir Jamy”, who has been investigating & executing the alleged Pilots for occupying dubious Licenses/certificates, was himself, practicing illegal occupation of the said post. In an order dated 24.11.2020, by the Hon’ble Islamabad High Court, WP No.2040 / 2020, made declarations “ it, prima facie, appears that the arrangements whereby Secretary, Aviation Division was allowed to officiate or purportedly appointed as the Director-General of the Authority was ultra vires the Ordinance of 1982 and thus ‘illegal’. This arrangement has continued for more than two years, therefore, the status of the orders passed during this period also have to be justified, which includes the orders impugned in the instant petition”. Furthermore, the court offered comments “It is noted, Civil Aviation Authority is one the most important regulatory bodies established under the law. Keeping it non-functional is not only alarming but it may be the reason for the inexcusable mishandling of the issue relating to the alleged fake Licences of Commercial Pilots”.

6) On the other hand, PCAA has been demonstrating the highest levels of malpractice, misconduct & amateurism backed by a hierarchy of the most incompetent Legal Department and Higher management. None of the pilots served with an impugned order of suspension/cancellation is justifiable under law. The CAA is in the dark about its laws, defined categorically, as per CAR’s 1994, ANO’s, Civil Aviation Ordinance 1982 & Enforcement Manual. None of the alleged individuals were served with Show Cause Notices comprising grounds for the actions to be taken against them, as per law (reference enforcement manual chapter 7 para 7.6). Neither has anyone ever received a written statement of facts and shreds of evidence which constitutes the grounds for the action to be taken against them (CAR’s 1994 rule 342 sub-rule 3 and enforcement manual chapter 6 para 6.4.3), thus, demonstrating breach of ethics. Even the right of a personal hearing, according to the law (CAR’s 1994), was not provided to alleged personnel before deciding the matter against him/her. It appears to be, for PCAA to decide such delicate matters, only allegations/accusations were sufficient enough to prejudice one’s professional well-being.

About the above-mentioned scenario, it is, prima facie, that some arrangements were being made under the umbrella of such brutal propaganda. Many contingencies and recruitments occurred during this course of time in the said Industry, amongst which most were Ex-military officials. Some may call it a coincidence, but it appears to be a convenient opportunity / obtainable chance for such officials.
All factors conversed above, are well-documented facts & are decisive factors to this debacle.

The PCAA, in this regard, acted irresponsibly despite being an autonomous body, performed otherwise. The regulator ( PCAA) should have owned the situation and should’ve given direction for a fresh and thorough inquiry into the matter since the claim/blame was exceedingly great & too delicate for the State’s integrity, instead of exterminating all the alleged, without a forensic / probe. Perhaps, for the bigger elephants of the game, PCAA acted as a tool, to be used as they please. The regulator, flabbergasted, performed much like a famous & typical saying “when you tell one lie, you need to keep spinning out more lies, to cover up the first one”. To date, the regulator is confronting a rough patch on various platforms ( legal Courts, ICAO, EASA, etc) and deteriorating, to justify Minister’s false declaration. Instead, the Authority in its capacity to act as a public functionary should have acted fairly & judicially.

In addition to this, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) services were hired to conduct an inquiry into the matter against the accused officials. These services then emerged in a form of FIR against the alleged Pilots & CAA’s officials. It appears, that such services are hired with ulterior motives to Execute, Harass & Torture the ones being vocal for their rights and to conduct the soundless procedure. To date, the FIA failed to produce anything in the form of documented evidence against the accused officials to call it an actual crime, yet many officials were brought into custody / arrested adding to their agony. The abovementioned Legal Orders dated 03.03.2021, Special Court (central)-II Karachi, were issued contrary to FIA claims, depicting abysmal performance for the investigation/inquiry into the matter. The said Order further claims “when I.O (Investigation Officer) was asked, as to how the violation of IT/ computer network system was traced and what data in this regard has been collected so far, then he could not give a satisfactory answer to this court”.

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We shall applaud, all those who managed through this irreversible destruction, defamation, the agony of stagnation/unemployment, owing, clan distressed, harassments, and bore through the process for over a year. For those who, with limited resources, despite being diminutive against the antagonists (Federation & relevant authorities/regulators) somehow, managed to survive and kept the fight going, with hope to extract justice from influenced institutes/platforms in their capacity because as far as the ‘modus operand’ is concerned, they should’ve been pushing up daisies (deceased).

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