If you are in Pakistan, you are not safe. Because if you are on land, a suicide bomber will kill you, and if you are flying, a fake pilot will crash you to death.
We are not saying this, but it is Pakistan’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who has revealed that more than 30 per cent of Pakistani pilots are unqualified to fly. They have fake licenses, he says. And Islamabad has no qualms admitting how it is putting people, both Pakistanis and foreigners in international airspace in danger. Ghulam told the National Assembly that over 260 pilots paid bribes to take exams on their behalf.
The Aviation Minister added, “They don’t have flying experience.”
And these 260 pilots are actually flying Pakistani aircrafts. Islamabad issues pilot licenses even more callously than driving licenses.
Currently, Pakistan has 850 active pilots serving various domestic airlines, including the national flagship carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
And please understand this is not a case of pilots with outdated licenses or disqualified pilots flying aircrafts. For the first time in human history, a country is admitting that it is letting pilots fly without even taking an exam.
And more from Pakistan: the death knell of PIA! Maybe the airline was giving jobs to the unemployed in Pakistan’s most skilled sector : suicide bombers pic.twitter.com/Gd0NiarnNK
— Mahesh Jethmalani (@JethmalaniM) June 26, 2020
Meanwhile, even more bizarre reports are coming out of the air crash in Karachi last month.
A PIA Airbus A320 had crashed in the Southern Pakistani city on May 22, killing 97 people. The pilots on the plane were distracted like anything. The preliminary inquiry didn’t reveal that pilots flying this Lahore-Karachi flight were unqualified. But the incident suggests otherwise.
The pilots- unfocussed and overconfident, were discussing the Chinese virus throughout their journey, PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan said. They ignored the repeated Air Traffic Control (ATC) warnings. But the worst was yet to come.
They tried to land the aircraft, without lowering its landing gear. The Airbus landed on its belly and engines scraped the surface of the runway.
The pilots attempted a second landing with its jeopardised engines. But the PIA aircraft ultimately crashed into a residential area in Karachi.
Now, Pakistan is grounding its fake pilots. The PIA alone is going to suspend 150 pilots holding fake licenses.
PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan told Al Jazeera, “Out of our 434 pilots, 150 will be grounded as of today.”
He added, “It will totally cripple us. But we cannot take risks with this.”
Pakistan’s air safety scam is bigger than one can think of. It is the most bizarre story in the aviation history of the world. And even Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is involved.
A serving PAF Air Marshal is heading the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), and the country’s Air Force is facing accusations of trying to cover-up the PIA crash probe.
THREAD: The story of PIA right now is so complex that as a journalist (NOT analyst) it is extremely difficult to walk a balanced line.
1 you have PTI government & its handling of crises.
2 is Pilots & issues related to them.
3 PIA & its long list of issues crises
— Tahir Imran Mian ✈ (@TahirImran) June 27, 2020
This is bizarre by even Pakistan’s standards. We always knew that Pakistani suicide bombers kill on Pakistani soil, but now we know that the Pakistani airspace isn’t too safe either.