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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued notice to the Pakistan International Airline Corporation (PIAC) and directed it to file parawise comments within a fortnight.

Fourteen engineers have filed petitions through advocate Umer Gilani and cited PIAC, secretary Ministry of Aviation, and the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).

They were inducted in the PIA as trainee engineers at various dates, ie, July 21, 2009 to October 5, 2009, and are currently serving as trainee engineers in the Engineering Department of the PIA.

They have prayed before the IHC to direct the PIAC to treat the petitioners/trainee engineers employed in the PIA in a fair manner and restrain the airlines from discriminating against/victimising them as a class, and immediately consider and fairly decide representation of the petitioners, seeking promotion to post of aircraft engineer.

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Gilani informed the IHC that his clients were appointed on contract basis with the understanding that once they would obtain the first license their services would be confirmed.

He further informed that despite the fact that the petitioners have obtained the license their services till to date have not been confirmed.

It was added that the petitioners are being discriminated inasmuch as the parallel class of technicians, who are not qualified engineers, are to be promoted, whereas, no such channel is provided for the petitioners.

The appointment letters issued to the petitioners and the memorandum of agreement signed with them clearly promised that they would be permanently absorbed/promoted as aircraft engineers upon obtaining "first license/approval from CAA Pakistan and Chief Engineer Quality Assurance, PIA."

It is an uncontroverted fact that the petitioners have obtained this license/approval many years ago. Yet, almost 12 years after their appointment, they are still "trainees"; they have neither been permanently absorbed nor promoted - for totally mala fide reasons. On the other hand, the apprentice mechanics and the management trainees who were appointed through the same advertisement, and on similar terms and conditions, were permanently absorbed year ago and have since been granted multiple promotions.

They submitted that despite having successfully met the requirement of obtaining first license/approval, the petitioners have not been promoted for reasons, which are patently mala fide. The denial of promotion has nothing to do with the petitioners' qualifications or their performance; it is on account of their being "engineers".

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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