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A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing 777 aircraft takes off from Karachi airport on November 11, 2010. — Photo by AFP
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Boeing 777 aircraft takes off from Karachi airport on November 11, 2010. — Photo by AFP

KARACHI, June 30: Compromising the air safety rules, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has lowered qualifications for selection of flight inspectors so that an ‘influential’ person could qualify and be hired for a plump salary of over Rs450,000 per month, it emerged on Sunday.

According to sources, when even after lowering the qualification/ requirement of ‘in command flying hours’, the ‘well-connected’ retired air force official, who had later joined the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) after retirement from the PAF, could not qualify, he has been inducted anyway as he is the batch mate of the CAA director-general, retired Air Marshal Khalid Chaudhry.

The sources said the most important required qualification, among other things, under the CAA rules for the post of a flight inspector was that the person should have the experience of flying an aircraft as the ‘pilot in command’ for at least 5,000 hours. But just to accommodate the blue-eyed boy, the CAA in its advertisement for the post of flight inspector, as printed in the newspapers, the experience required mentioned as at least 3,000 hours – some 2,000 hours less than what is prescribed in the CAA laws.The CAA’s manual for the flight inspectors on the issue says: “1.3.3 Qualifications of a flight inspector: A flight operations inspector should have extensive operational experience, not less than 5,000 hours as pilot in command / flight engineer of air transport civil or military aircraft.”

The sources said that despite lowering the qualification of 5,000 hours to 3,000 hours, retired Capt Arif Majeed, son of Abdul Majeed, failed to fulfill the criteria because he had less than 2,000 in command flying hours' experience. But the CAA selected him.

The sources said Arif Majeed was a batch mate of the CAA chief in the Air Force. A few months ago, they said, Mr Chaudhry had brought in his friend Mr Majeed, who was serving in the PIA as a pilot, on deputation to the CAA as a flight inspector, just a few weeks before he was due to reach the age of superannuation and retire from the PIA. The step was in violation of government rules governing deputations which require that an officer going on deputation must have at least three years’ service left before the retirement. They said that during his service in the CAA for a few weeks, during which he had not yet even fully completed the flight inspector’s mandatory training, he was made director of flight standards directorate with many more qualified and senior flight inspectors serving under him.

Finally, when he retired after serving a few weeks in the CAA, he did not leave the office and continued to work and issued orders.

However, as a precautionary measure, he wrote the orders in pencil, without dates and on small adhesive chits.

It was only after the media approached the CAA for its version and highlighted the issue that Mr Majeed stopped coming to the office of the CAA’s director flight standards and the CAA posted another person, Abid Hassan, acting director, who is also not qualified and has less than 5,000 in command flying hours experience. The sources said that now after a couple of months, Mr Majeed had once again been inducted on a contract of two years (extendable) as a flight inspector, though he is still not qualified for the job.

Responding to Dawn queries, Arif Majeed confirmed that he had been hired by the CAA as a flight inspector on a two-year contract. He insisted that he had sufficient qualifications to be a flight inspector as he had earlier served on even a higher position of the director of flight standard. Asked if he had 5,000 hours or even 3,000 in command flying hours experience, he said he did not remember it.

Dawn repeatedly approached CAA spokesperson Abid Kaimkhani and even sent him the questions in writing through email regarding what was the CAA’s requirement / qualification in relation to the in command flying hours for a flight inspector and why the requirement of 5,000 hours as mentioned in the CAA rules had been lowered to 3,000 hours in the advertisement, and what actually was the in command flying experience (how many hours) of Arif Majeed. Mr Kaimkhani said he would respond as soon as he got the answers from the department concerned, but he never did, even after a passage of a few weeks.

Earlier, responding to the Dawn queries, CAA chief Khalid Chaudhry had confirmed that he and Arif Majeed had served in the PAF for many years together. He also did not remember as to how many hours’ in command flying experience did Mr Majeed had, but he insisted that Mr Majeed met the qualifications as prescribed by the CAA.

Comments (18) Closed

Mazhar Hasan Jul 01, 2013 10:40am

Its a shame. The Air Marshal and the blue-eyed boy should both be tried and given exemplary punishment, the former more so and he should be held accountable for misuse of position and authority. For their personal gains they have risked the lives of so many innocent passengers. They have neither ethics nor morality.

IBN-E-ASHFAQUE Jul 01, 2013 10:50am

The incumbent has two qualifications that surpass all, he is from the airforce and he is the batch mate of the CAA chief. In fact why is the CAA a hunting ground of ex PAF officers. But then where will these old eagles who? Long live Pakistan.

Ali Jul 01, 2013 10:51am

PIA should only hire professionals. Complete ban on retired airforce people joining PIA right after retirement!

Khalid Mehmood Jul 01, 2013 11:07am

I am unable to understand why the peoples are interested in wrong ways,if a person in not fullfil the desire requirement why you are trying to fit that person,where is Shabaz sharif and Nawaz sharif and where is the SC,why he is not taking SUOMOTO notice on the irregularities because this is not the PPP Govt. I request to all the departments to follow their own rules and regulation

Wajahat Hussain Jul 01, 2013 11:13am

Unless we strictly follow the Rules and Regulations and hire persons strictly on merit Pakistan will never get any farther! Pakistan need Education for all across-the -board and dispensation of justice for all irrespective of his/her position in society. Hiring a best qualified/experienced person for all jobs is part of dispensation of justice for all! Basically we are cheaters and that is the reason why we have double standards. There are much bigger cheaters elsewhere but there the dispensation of Justice is for all and everyone, without any discrimination and that is the difference between us and them!

Sultan Fatima Jul 01, 2013 11:27am

This refers to advertisements floated by ministry of information for the posts of chief executives. Have rules not bended to hire favorites. Only 15 years relevant experience and bachelors degree is required to run multibillion public sector giants. Is this criteria according to Supreme court ruling, on hiring in public sector companies. The current executives managing these companies have over 30 years of experience and have masters in relevant field.

pakistani Jul 01, 2013 11:49am

Good investigation work. Next time please put their photo too with the report so Pakistani public will see who these people are who bankrupting our country and taking jobs away from deserving candidates. Thanks

WhatsWrong Jul 01, 2013 12:29pm

This is Pakistan brothers. the country belongs to the army, anything related to wings and flying belong to airforce, anything related to shipping goes to navy. the rest of the resources are for corrupt polticians. no wonder pakistan is in chaos.

rashid zaidi Jul 01, 2013 01:47pm

Both these people should be sacked right away and anyone trying to influence the process should also be sent home. Pakistan, and the new government should take these issues seriously if they want to succeed. Besides this, Dawn should have the gall to publish these kind of replies/comments, often my comments are not published as they are blunt, yet to the point, a news paper is supposed to voice the opinion of it's readers as long as the contents are not provocative. People who cheat Pakistan in any shape or form should be brought to justice, in order to build a fair society.

Jawed Khan Jul 01, 2013 01:42pm

Assuming the story has correctly reported the facts, I extend my heartiest congratulations to all concerned on yet another glaring example of ignoring rules and regulations to satisfy small egos, and in this case also put others' lives at risk. And then one complains when European countries ban PIA for not adhereing to safety standards. Really well done CAA, setting great examples of correctness and transparency - not. Is the Minister responsible going to take appropriate corrective action? Keep on dreaming!

wasim haider Jul 01, 2013 01:51pm

Good example of Hi-tec corruption, may Allah save the PIA passengers.

Guest63 Jul 01, 2013 02:31pm

@wasim haider: , Not May Allah save PIA , Please Inform Allah (P.I.A) for that to happen as he has firm rules in place " If one does not change oneself , HE will Never change it , Divine message as per quran saying , So if the people are hell bent upon breaking and mending the rules to Scratch backs , No Wonder , the so called "great people to fly with " is having the horrid times for decades now . I personally would not dare to fly in such a plane which had been certified by people "who even do not have qualifications to be hired to do the job , let alone do the job " . This guy might have been a bright fighter pilot But what the hell he has to do in civil aviation industry , when he has passed his time , retired from the airforce with perks and prilivlages of unmatched proportions .

shereen Jul 01, 2013 04:03pm

@rashid zaidi: oh you are so right! its ok if u spout venom against politicans but if you try and tell the media what they are doing wrong they cant take it. when they should be the ones we can trust to uncover those cheating our country.

Information Age Jul 01, 2013 04:05pm

Air Blue crash in the Margallas, innocent blood is on the hands of CAA, I hope there is no doubt after reading this news article.

Open Mind Jul 01, 2013 04:25pm

shame on you PML (N).......shame....shame...we were expecting from Sharif bro's now they will lead the country well after ten years exile ...but....useless

Burki Jul 01, 2013 05:02pm

oh no! this can't be true since the persons involved are from our high & mighty "Paak Fizayya", they can never do anything wrong or against the rules. Expect to hear some "clarification" from CAA chairman soon. BTW, congratulations to Dawn for this excellent piece of investigative journalism and bringing to public's attention this nepotism & utter violation of rules.

Nasir Jul 01, 2013 07:50pm

I congratulate Dawn for printing stories like that to show corruption and neoptisim is everywhere. People of Pakistan should decide next time when they elect their public servant.

Feroze Jul 01, 2013 08:15pm

Mr. Arif Majeed has more experience running PALPA then flying aircrafts. I really dont know what skills and experience will he carry in the cockpit when he goes to check a pilot with three or four times his experience and an aircraft that he has never flown.