LAHORE: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif has held Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan responsible for the ban on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in Europe and the US, saying it happened because of “mindless and ill-thought-out” speech of the minister.
“Ban on PIA imposed by several countries with the US being the latest is a consequence of mindless & ill-thought-out speech by the Aviation Minister who only wanted to evade responsibility. Look at what he has done to the entire aviation industry besides bringing a bad name to Pakistan,” Shahbaz tweeted on Friday.
On June 20, Mr Sarwar had disclosed in parliament that 150 pilots working for the national flag carrier had “dubious licences”. Following his disclosure, the European Union and the UK banned PIA for six months.
On Thursday, the US also revoked permission granted to PIA to operate at least 12 special direct flights to bring back stranded Pakistanis.
The European Union Aviation Authority has also recommended the aviation authorities of its 32 member states to consider suspension of validations issued against Pakistani licences.
The authority has written a letter to its member countries regarding alleged “fraud related to pilot licences issued in Pakistan” and recommended not to schedule such pilots for flight operations.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2020