A very jolly politician from Balochistan, Nawab Aslam Raisani, once said a famous quote, that: “Degree degree hoti hai, asli ho ya nakli” – which translates to a degree being a degree, be it fake or authentic.
For decades, Pakistani politicians have successfully held office using fake degrees, which they either paid for, or got through their influence. They’ve even been disqualified for holding fake degrees, but they always return, stronger and better. However, it seems that the leniency, unknowingly, had been extended to the PIA and Civil Aviation Authority as well.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan learned the other day that almost 100 officials, including 24 PIA pilots and other CAA members, were holding offices through fake degrees. While 17 out of the 24 PIA pilots have either resigned or left work unsolicited, 7 remaining pilots have taken stay orders by the court and are currently verifying their degrees.
“Out of 451 PIA pilots at present, the degree/certificates of 319 have been verified and found to be genuine by PIA. This certificate/degree of 124 pilots are under process. T he Supreme Court of Pakistan learned the other day that almost 100 officials, including 24 PIA pilots and other CAA members, were holding offices through fake degrees. There are seven pilots with bogus degrees who are working because of stay orders passed by courts in their favor,” said Sajid Bhatti, the man who submitted the report by CAA.
“The private airlines; Shaheen Air, Air Blue and Serene Air requested time to verify degrees of their pilots and cabin crew as they stated they had never done this exercise before. The CAA’s committee directed them through letters that this exercise needs to be completed in one month positively,” the report further stated.
Since Air Blue’s name is also mentioned in the report, the CEO of the airline, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who is also the Prime Minister of the country, will have to appear before the Supreme Court as well. It is being stated that Abbasi would attend proceedings not as the PM of the country, but as any other CEO of an airline.
“He will present himself as the chief of Air Blue and not as the prime minister,” said Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, adding that the issue is a huge conflict of interest. Other Chiefs, including those of Shaheen, Serene and PIA have been summoned by the top court as well. Fake degrees are a matter that the Supreme Court presumably does not take lightly.
Previously, the CAA had terminated services of at least 40 workers on holding fake degrees in 2016. In 2014, 300 employees of PIA were sent home for the same cause.