Pakistan validates licenses of 166 pilots working in foreign countries

This file photo taken on July 9, 2003, shows a view through an aircraft window of a Boeing 747 tail fin of an aircraft of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). (AFP)
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Updated 17 July 2020

Pakistan validates licenses of 166 pilots working in foreign countries

  • Pakistan’s civil aviation ministry grounded 262 pilots for “dubious” qualifications last month
  • Out of 262, licenses for 28 pilots canceled and verification process underway for another 76 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday validated licenses of 166 pilots working in foreign countries amid a scandal involving “dubious” flying certificates, which caused a global alert.

Pakistan’s civil aviation ministry grounded 262 pilots for “dubious” qualifications last month, prompted by a preliminary report into an airliner crash in Karachi in May that found the pilots had failed to follow standard procedures and disregarded alarms. That crash killed 97 passengers and crew.

The ministry had said earlier that Pakistan has a total of 860 pilots, 107 of whom work for foreign airlines, but updated on Thursday in a statement that it had received requests from 10 countries for validation of 176 pilots.

It said 166 of them have been validated by Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as “genuine and certified” and the remaining 10 will have their process completed by next week.

The 10 countries where these pilots are employed included United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, the ministry said. It said the validation had been conveyed to the respective countries.

Out of the 262 grounded pilots, the statement said, the licenses for 28 pilots have been canceled, and a process of verification for another 76 was underway.

The scandal has prompted the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to suspended two Pakistani airlines’ authorization to fly to the bloc for six months over safety failure.

Britain and the United States have also revoked landing rights for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), and various global safety boards have downgraded the national carrier’s rating over aviation safety risks.

Several countries have grounded the Pakistani pilots, seeking the validation from Pakistan.

Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA) has said there are discrepancies in the government-prepared list of pilots with licenses deemed dubious.


Roadside bomb kills one near Pakistani capital

Updated 17 sec ago

Roadside bomb kills one near Pakistani capital

  • Rawalpindi police confirmed the blast was from a device planted on the side of the road
  • No one immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion

ISLAMABAD: A roadside bomb exploded near a busy bus terminal in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi on Friday, killing at least one person and wounding seven others, police said.

Initially, police said the bomb was planted in an auto-rickshaw, but a Rawalpindi police statement later confirmed the blast was from a device planted on the side of the road.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion. Pakistani TV stations and videos on social media showed a burned-out rikshaw surrounded by police and emergency services.

The Pakistani military’s headquarters and the offices of the country's spy agencies are located in Rawalpindi, about 15 kilometers south of the capital Islamabad. 

In June, a similar roadside bomb attack struck a crowded bazaar in Rawalpindi, killing at least one and wounding 15.

Pakistan has witnessed scores of militant attacks on security forces in recent years.

In October, a powerful bomb blast ripped through an Islamic seminary on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing at least eight students and wounding 136 others.