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ISLAMABAD: Civil Aviation Division has recommended the government to extend suspension period of licences of suspected pilots upto October 31, 2020 as the investigation will take sometime, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

The Federal Cabinet while considering the summary titled "detailed presentation on suspected pilot licences" submitted by Aviation Division on July 7, 2020 directed to cancel the CPL/ATPL licences issued to 28 pilots as disciplinary proceedings had been completed, with the direction that both disciplinary and criminal proceedings against the remaining suspect licence holders be expedited. In line with the Cabinet directions and as per provisions of Rule 342 of Civil Aviation Rules 1994, the Director General Civil Aviation Authority has cancelled the licences of 28 pilots besides suspending licences of 193 pilots. Show-cause notices have also been issued to these pilots and so for replies of 115 pilots have been received.

The legal process under the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority Rules 1994 is ongoing, including the personal hearings of suspected pilots, and it is expected to take some time before finalization. In order to preclude possibility of litigation with regard to the allowable period of one month of suspension as per Civil Aviation Rule 342(2), Civil Aviation Division has proposed that the period of suspension of the licences may be extended upto October 31, 2020. The authority to extend the suspension period lies with the federal government.

Civil Aviation Division has also intimated that a reference to FIA has been forwarded to initiate criminal action against the CAA employees and other person(s) who are directly or indirectly involved in commission of the stated offences.

On July 7, the cabinet took the following decisions: (i) Cabinet reaffirmed its resolve in reforming all the institutions including PIA & CAA whose governance was compromised during the previous governments; (ii) Cabinet approved the summary of Aviation Division to cancel the CPL/ATPL licences issued to the 28 pilots against whom all disciplinary proceedings had been completed, with the direction that both disciplinary and criminal proceedings against the remaining suspected licence holders be expedited. The cabinet further directed that the Aviation Division should fulfill all the codal formalities while implementing the decision of the Cabinet in this regard; (iii) the Cabinet also directed the Aviation Division to continue liaising with international stakeholders to dispel their apprehensions about Pakistan's licencing regime due to recent events and; (iv) the Cabinet further directed that Board of Inquiry shall continue working to assist the Aviation Division in scrutinizing all 162 suspected licences.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020