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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday directed the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to implement 10pc quota for women in the appointment of cadet pilots.

Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan passed this order while allowing a petition moved by commercial pilot Komal Zafar who applied for a vacancy of cadet pilot. She was the only woman candidate and stood on number 21 on the merit list for 25 vacancies from all over Pakistan. However, she said, the vacancies were reduced to 12.

Petitioner’s counsel Rai Akhtar Suleman argued before the court that the PIA had not followed 10pc quota for women in the impugned recruitment process which is a clear violation of Article 27 of the Constitution. He said the airlines claimed that the vacancies of the cadet pilots were being filled on open merit due to sensitivity of the job and there was no reserved quota for women. If this is the case, he argued, how women were allowed to apply for the posts on open merit.

The counsel argued that the respondent authority ignored the recruitment rules of the federal government or its departments made with the sole purpose of promoting talented women of the country having less opportunities and inadequate facilities.

He asked the court to order the PIA to enforce the quota for women to fill the vacancies of cadet pilots.

A human resource officer of the PIA stated before the court that the quota reserved for women had been fully implemented by the national flag carrier in all recruitments. More than 2013 women had been employed at the PIA, he added. However, he said, women and handicapped persons were not appointed pilot due to sensitivity of the job.

The judge observed that if women pilots could fly jet planes of the Pakistan Air Force, there should be no harm in allowing women to fly the passenger planes. He allowed the petition and directed the PIA to enforce the job quota for women in the recruitment of the cadet pilots.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2018