Criminal probes begin against 50 pilots, five officials

Updated 17 Sep 2020

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The probes come roughly three months after Pakistan grounded dozens of pilots over allegedly dubious qualifications. — AFP/File
The probes come roughly three months after Pakistan grounded dozens of pilots over allegedly dubious qualifications. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has opened criminal investigations into cases of 50 pilots and at least five civil aviation officials who allegedly helped them falsify credentials to secure licences, according to two senior government sources and cabinet meeting minutes seen by Reuters.

The probes come roughly three months after Pakistan grounded dozens of pilots over allegedly dubious qualifications. At the time, the civil aviation regulator said it would conduct a detailed investigation into the scandal.

On the government’s orders, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has launched criminal probes into the matter, according to minutes from Tuesday’s cabinet meeting and the sources, who declined to be named because the discussions are private.

A show-cause notice served on one of the pilots said the FIA was investigating “alleged corruption, violations, malpractices in (the) issuance of flight crew licences”.

Munir Ahmed Shaikh, a senior FIA official, confirmed that a probe into the matter was ongoing, but declined to comment any further. The civil aviation ministry declined to comment until the government makes the matter public.

The ministry submitted the findings of its inquiry to the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday, said the sources, adding that another 32 pilots had separately been suspended for a year.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2020