Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Friday held Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan responsible for the ban on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) by several countries, including the US and the UK.
“The ban on PIA imposed by several countries, with the US being the latest, is a consequence of mindless & ill-thought-out speech by [the] aviation minister who only wanted to evade responsibility.
“Look at what he has done to the entire aviation industry besides bringing [a] bad name to Pakistan!” he said.
On June 30, the aviation minister had disclosed in parliament that 150 pilots working for the national carrier had ‘dubious licences’. He had made the remarks while presenting the initial report of the PIA May 22 plane crash.
On Thursday, the United States transport authority became the latest among a number of countries to revoke permission granted to PIA to operate a number of special direct flights to the US.
The authorisation was revoked “due to recent events identified by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority that are of serious concern to aviation safety, specifically matters pertaining to the proper certification of certain Pakistani pilots”, according to an email sent to PIA officials by a US-based law firm, seen by Dawn.com.
Earlier, the European Union and British aviation authorities had barred the airline from flying to their airports for at least six months.
Meanwhile, the aviation regulators of several other countries have sought verification of the credentials of Pakistani pilots and engineers working for them.