Islamabad High Court has cancelled the order about board of inquiry that was constituted to conduct inquiry into the licences of pilots in Pakistan. Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Justice Ather Minallah was hearing the case against cancellation of the Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) of pilot Syed Saqlain Akhtar. Syed Saqlain Akhtar was represented by Zeeshaan Zafar Hashmi, Advocate High Court. Chief Justice has also directed to ascertain the blame that who is responsible for preparing the list of 262 pilots, which was given to Federal Minister.
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Mr. Hashmi informed the Court that three Show Cause Notices of 2 January, 13 May and 24 May 2019 were issued in violation of law against Syed Saqlain Akhtar by a Director-General while illegally holding the post of Secretary Aviation. The Chief Justice inquired as to how a Secretary Aviation could lawfully hold additional charge as Director-General, to which the Additional Attorney-General as well as private counsel for Civil Aviation Authority had no satisfactory reply. Moreover, counsel for the pilot Mr. Zeeshaan Zafar Hashmi highlighted that a Board of Inquiry had been illegally constituted on 22.02.2019 to look into the pilots licensing issue.
Private counsel for CAA candidly conceded that this Board of Inquiry was the same board from which the figure of 262 pilots came from – whose licenses were deemed “fake”. This same figure was cited by the Federal Minister for Aviation on the floor of the National Assembly and has been repeated by the authorities on numerous occasions. The Chief Justice repeatedly inquired as to the legality of the notification of the Board of Inquiry, and both the Additional Attorney General as well as private counsel for CAA conceded that the Board of Inquiry was indeed illegally constituted.
The Chief Justice asked where the report of the Board of Inquiry could be found, but once again the counsel for CAA conceded that no report was ever issued. After hearing the arguments, the Chief Justice allowed the petition and set aside the order of cancellation of the petitioner Syed Saqlain Akhtar’s ATPL and also set aside the notification of the Board of Inquiry as being illegally constituted. The detailed judgement is expected in a few days.
Today the argument on petition of Mr. Saqlain Versus CAA Pakistan lasted for an hour. The Honourable Chief Justice IHC asked the Learned Attorney General that inquiry ordered in to fake licenses by Secretary Aviation was without any legal authority and no statute allows the Secretary Aviation to order such Board Of Inquiry, thus it was ultra vires and ab initio. Chief Justice has also directed to ascertain the blame that who is responsible for preparing the list of 262 pilots, which was given to Federal Minister, who further declared on the floor of the parliament that 262 Pakistani Pilots were holding fake licenses, whereas 181 pilots have been cleared by the CAA.
Majority of these pilots were on Jobs in other foreign airlines, but due to irresponsible statement by Aviation Minister they all lost their jobs and moreover due to this mishandling of the situation. Pakistani airlines have been banned by International Civil Aviation Organisation and European Union to fly on international routes and in fact destroyed the image of Pakistan and the the nation. All members of the such illegal inquiry board are responsible for making the wrong list of 262 pilots, therefore they must be punished. I was present in the Court room during the argument on the petition. In my honest opinion all the members of an ultra vires board of inquiry on fake licenses issue are responsible for destruction of Pakistan’s Aviation Industry for making a wrong list of fake licenses by implicating 181 innocent pilots, who got terminated from foreign airlines due to joint mess created by CAA, Aviation Minister and all members of the Ultra vires Board of Inquiry under leadership of Secretary Maritime Mr. Rizwan.