Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar has refused to admit that his controversial remarks that accused the Pakistani pilots of having fake licences caused massive losses to the national airlines and resulted in a ban on its flights in Europe.
In a show with Geo’s Shahzeb Khanzada, the minister said he didn’t say anything wrong and that his honesty must be “appreciated” and that the entire sector was facing losses due to COVID-19, not just the national carrier.
After a deadly plane crash in May 2020, the minister on the floor of parliament had claimed 262 pilots had fake licences. His statement created an uproar, resulting in a ban on Pakistani pilots. The ban in Europe still persists.
Also, investigations had reportedly revealed that 182 out of the 262 pilots have valid credentials.
However, the minister said despite all the bans his steps should be lauded because he was pushing for transparency.“Should we not have taken any action? You should appreciate that someone is taking initiative. Our transparency should be appreciated,” he said in the show.
He further said that the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had a satisfactory score of “97.6%” which was considered “great”. At this, the host retorted that the EU ban on the PIA still remains, no matter the score, because of the statement made by the minister.
But, Ghulam Sarwar insisted that his steps should be appreciated despite the fact that PM Imran Khan and the attorney general had already said that the PIA issue was mishandled.
According to a report in July, the PIA was likely to incur losses over Rs100 billion due to suspension of international flights amid the fake licences controversy and the coronavirus pandemic.