On a petition filed by an aviation stakeholder, 03 November 2020, Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Mr Justice Athar Minnallah remarked that practically a very important regulatory body working without a head is DYSFUNCTIONAL and that the fundamental rights of each and everyone is being abrogated in the country.
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Petitioner Asim Nawaz, Advocate High Court and CEO Sky Wings, that is a private air charter company and a flying school will again appear on 24 November 2020 in the court of honourable Chief Justice, IHC and will present a broader picture of the woes of the Aviation Industry in Pakistan. Secretary Aviation and Attorney General have been summoned to appear in person on the said date.
Some of the points which are under question are;
- CAA is working headlessly with an Adhoc DG without any Aviation experience for nearly three years, the secretary of aviation is the defacto head who has a degree in rural sciences and is a career bureaucrat from administrative services.
- The position is considered so lucrative that no secretary is willing to pass it on to a full-time DG and it is evident from the fact that only in last 12 months, the advertisement for the full-time DG has been placed thrice, twice it was withdrawn and in case of the third one, nearly 600 candidates applied and the board constituted for selection termed all of them as not having relevant aviation experience. The shortlisted candidates had too senior-most CAA officials and players from the aviation sector of Pakistan. Ironically the board constituted had aviation minister, secretary aviation, another bureaucrat from commerce division and a wheeler-dealer individual, all of them having no aviation background themselves.
- Stoppage of examinations by CAA since March 2020.
- Unqualified people in different positions as nepotism prevails.
- No support to the Aviation businesses but creating unnecessary delays and hurdles in the business.
- Outsourcing of Examination System to a UK company which will create a further financial burden on the student pilots and their parents. No official information has been issued by CAA but the vague fine print suggests that each exam will be charged £90 and students usually appear in 12 exams each, minimum. It is worth mentioning here that both the Ministry and CAA has been playing down the issue especially after the Minister’s statement on licensing terming them as non-serious. Now out of the blue, they announce an outsourced arrangement which suggests that matter is beyond the grasp and competency levels of the regulator. This will also drain the foreign exchequer for a system that could have been fixed with proper reforms.
- Non-issuance of business licenses on one pretext or another which creates hindrance in economic activities and in creating jobs.
- Bifurcation of CAA in Commercial and Regulatory by Aviation Division without a functional head through an Ordinance and to consolidate the control with the help of such ordinance by keeping DG CAA position with the secretary of aviation.
- Job losses and business losses in the Aviation industry due to the failed implementation of National Aviation Policy 2019.
The petitioner claims that this struggle is for the aviation industry in the country, and it doesn’t have any personal goal or agenda. ‘We as workers of this industry demand the government to appoint a professional Aviation Advisor to PM and a DG CAA from the already-completed process on 14 October 2020 but on merit. This is the only way we can start a recovery in Aviation Industry else it will continue to bring a bad name to the PTI led government the world over’, they added.