Pilots, Cockpit Crew Members Among 700+ PIA Employees Holding Fake Degrees
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airline (PIA) now finds itself embroiled in a new scandal of recruiting more than 700 employees holding fake degrees. Recruitment of employees with fake degrees on various important slots, including that of pilots as well cabin crew staff, raises questions on the integrity and transparency of the national flag carrier. These pilots were flying the airplane without the required qualification, risking lives of the travellers as well as the reputation of the country.
The documents available with Naya Daur explain that a total of 710 employees were being recruited in the airline on various positions including pilots, administrations as well crew staff for years. Additionally, 200 bogus employees were recruited on daily-wage basis who never worked at all and were getting salaries from the airline.
PIA CEO also admitted these shocking facts before the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation which was being chaired by Senator Mushahidullah Khan last week. CEO admitted that these employees were recruited in the airline during various tenures damaging the reputation of the airline beyond repair as well as causing financial losses to the national carrier.
According to the documents, after the issue of fake degrees surfaced in the airline, all educational documents of the employees submitted at the time of recruitment were sent to the concerned boards and universities for verification and investigations against them were started.
A source in the airline told that after hundreds of employees’ degrees were found fake, the airline unlawfully gave them two years to complete their degrees and submit them again.
While hearing a Human Rights case No: 8645, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had categorically issued directives for verification of the degrees/certificates of PIACL cabin and cockpit crew staff last year.
According to the documents, 3 pilots and 464 other staffers in first phase were terminated from the service when their degrees were found to be fake but the national airline is hesitating in providing proofs of action taken against the accused, despite repeated demands.
The documents also added that 201 employees have sought stay orders in different courts against the decision of the airline terminating them from their services.
An official of the airline told Naya Daur that PIA was taking action against lower grade employees, but 42 employees continue to work with the airline due to contacts with influential elements in political parties and bureaucracy.
However, other officials said that disciplinary proceedings were ongoing against the 42 ‘bogus’ employees, who will soon be terminated.
Mushidullah Khan called upon PIA CEO Arshad Malik over the terminations. Mushahidullah said that if lower grade employees were being terminated, their bosses who landed the posts via fake degrees must also bear the same fate.
He added that terminating the employees would have a huge financial impact on their families and that he was not in favour of such a move. However, Mushahidullah suggested that PIA should set a criteria for degree verification during recruitment to ensure transparency in the future.
Officials claim that some of the pilots and crew members were hesitant to submit their degrees and documents for verification and that the administration had decided to cancel their license.
A source within the PIA told Naya Daur that the new PIA administration was committed to reviving the airline as a reputed organization, but the ‘mafia’ within PIA was placing hurdles in the way.
Despite repeated attempts, the official spokesperson of PIA did not give her version on the subject.
The author is a reporter based in Islamabad.