An owl on every branch

Afaq Khan


The writer is a journalist and social activist.

Whenever an incident occurs anywhere in the world, the concerned government tries to bring out the facts after a thorough investigation. However, after the PIA plane crash in Karachi before Eid-ul-Fitr, a significant revelation came from a key Pakistani government minister without any investigation and confirmation that the licences of hundreds of pilots are fake.
One of the main reasons behind this revelation may be that the present government wants to somehow blame the previous governments for the plane crash. There is no doubt that previous governments had not worked properly, but the current government should have put the country’s interests before political ambitions.
As soon as the statement of Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan came, Pakistani media raised this issue just for the sake of ratings, after which the news spread like wildfire all over the world and brought Pakistan into disrepute.
Pakistan International Airlines played a significant role in setting up Emirates Airlines – one of the most prominent airlines in the world. PIA provided technical and administrative assistance to the new carrier and leased a new Boeing 737—300 and an Airbus A300B4-200. Pakistani pilots used to fly the most expensive planes of Emirates.
After the controversial statement, PIA was banned from flying to Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom, and even Ethiopia, and Pakistani pilots working in many foreign airlines were suspended.
Following the revelation by Ghulam Sarwar Khan regarding fake licences of PIA pilots, the airline rating organization, which reviews the safety and quality of services of airlines around the world, downgraded PIA to a one-star airline out of a total of seven stars.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, airlines around the globe are working to retrieve their citizens stranded abroad. The PIA was forced to stop operating flight operations. And if I’m not mistaken, the Pakistan cricket team also used Afghan airline for the tour of England.
The ban on PIA has brought disgrace to the country as well as overseas Pakistanis. The degrees of doctors, engineers, economists, and others, who are serving abroad for a long period, are also being questioned.
The current government provides great importance to overseas Pakistanis. But due to a controversial move by the government, Pakistanis around the world are facing severe difficulties today. The matter of Aviation Minister’s fake degree is still pending and he is allowed to work till the matter resolved so why the same formula was not adopted in pilots’ case.
After the loss and disgrace faced by Pakistan, another statement came to light that Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has termed all the licences of Pakistani pilots ‘genuine’. After the clearance of civil aviation, it is the responsibility of Ghulam Sarwar Khan to respond in this regard.
It is a common tradition in our country that ministers and spokesperson issue statements without any clarifications. And the media, without any research or verification, raised these statements just to increase the ratings.
Since there is no check and balance on social media, anything is promoted so much that even a lie seems to be true. The question is whether the media will raise the issue again. Will the people who humiliated the PIA and its pilots apologize? Or this case too will be suppressed.
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