The Cloak of Invincibility

This is not a fairy tale, but an element of supernatural powers does exist in this country and that is the cloak of invincibility worn by a chosen few.

If you are one of the chosen few and have gone through the rigors of training designed to produce brave sons of the soil, you do end up being patriotic, courageous, honest, disciplined, and because of specialized training, very efficient in the jobs you are designed to do.

S M Ahmed

If you are one of the chosen few and have gone through the rigors of training designed to produce brave sons of the soil, you do end up being patriotic, courageous, honest, disciplined, and because of specialized training, very efficient in the jobs you are designed to do. This is all true to a large extent but what is not true is the assumed right to wear the “cloak of invincibility”.

This is a right which is not based on any written rules or regulations but permeates the society as a virus. It gives the right to these special individuals to be a diplomat, economist, politician, technocrat, even a religious leader without any considerations of their experience or suitability of the job. The aura of invincibility is enough.

You might wonder why this outburst now. It is the direct consequence of a recent TV talk show in which the honorable Minister of Aviation was a participant in a discussion about the recent air disaster.

In a question about the suitability of PAF officers conducting a Civil Airliner crash, the honorable Minister stated that if an pilot was trained to fly the F-16 he could easily fly the Airbus A-320. This remark must have left the International Aviation Community flabbergasted and horrified. It is like asking a race car driver to till fields in a bullock cart.

It is not to cast aspirations on the PAF pilots. I being an ex PAF pilot and an instructor acknowledge and feel proud of the professionalism, courage and expertise of PAF in what they are trained to do.

Military and commercial aviation are both extremely complex skill sets, requiring extensive and different training. Every aircraft, both in the military and civil requires special procedures and training. I, as an experienced PAF pilot had to undergo months of specialized training, simulator, exams, licensing and supervised flying to qualify as a commercial pilot. A commercial pilot may not have the skill and dexterity required to fly a fighter aircraft but may be extremely competent and better at handling his profession.

Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people.

S M Ahmed

The danger is in assumptions. The “Cloak of Invincibility” assumes competence where it may be lacking. In this particular instance the Nation is hoping for above the board, professional inquiry which leads to an improvement in systems and procedures and ensures safety in aviation services. The incident may have long term disastrous consequences for both the Airline and  CAA. In the recent past both the CAA and the Airline have been downgraded by International authorities and have not learned their lessons. Pakistan’s aviation services cannot afford to come under the spotlight once again.

It is hoped the competence and professionalism is given precedence over presumed expertise, while not allowing  petty politics, point scoring, and cronyism to sweep the inquiry under the rug once again.

Shed the “cloak”.

PIA achieves a new milestone !

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