Pakistan International Airlines fires pilots with fake school degrees

National carrier Pakistan International Airlines has been plagued by myriad controversies in recent years and saddled by billions of dollars in debt. (Reuters)
Updated 31 December 2018
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Pakistan International Airlines fires pilots with fake school degrees

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s national flag carrier has fired 50 staffers including three pilots for holding fake high school degrees, an airline official said Monday, in the latest embarrassing mishap to hit the troubled airline.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which was considered a global leader in commercial aviation until the 1970s, has been plagued by myriad controversies in recent years and saddled by billions of dollars in debt.
“The airline has dismissed from service its 50 staffers including three pilots for holding fake high school degrees,” PIA’s spokesman Mashood Tajwar said.
He said at least six additional pilots had been fired recently on the same grounds.
The airline has canceled the pilots’ licenses, Tajwar added. He did not specify what the other PIA staff who were sacked did for the airline.
PIA was widely mocked in 2016 for sacrificing a goat next to a turboprop ATR plane to ward off bad luck, weeks after one of its planes crashed killing 47 people in one of Pakistan’s worst air disasters.
Last year it had to apologize after forgetting two corpses due to be transferred to Pakistan from New York.
And in 2013 one of its pilots was jailed in Britain for being drunk before he was due to fly from Leeds to Islamabad with 156 people on board.
PIA employees have also been periodically investigated for drug-smuggling, especially after drugs were seized from a Dubai-bound flight in 2016.


For Iranians, economic crisis looms larger than US tensions

Updated 19 May 2019
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For Iranians, economic crisis looms larger than US tensions

  • Iran’s 80 million people struggle to buy meat, medicine and other staples of daily life
  • Many pointed to the economy, not the possible outbreak of war

TEHRAN: Across Iran’s capital, the talk always seems to come back to how things may get worse.
Battered by US sanctions and its depreciating rial currency, Iran’s 80 million people struggle to buy meat, medicine and other staples of daily life.
Many pointed to the economy, not the possible outbreak of war, as Iran’s major concern. Iran’s rial currency traded at 32,000 to $1 at the time of the 2015 nuclear deal. Now it is at 148,000, and many have seen their life’s savings wiped out.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate is 12 percent. For youth it’s even worse, with a quarter of all young people unemployed, according to Iran’s statistic center.
“The economic situation is very bad, very bad. Unemployment is very high, and those who had jobs have lost theirs,” said Sadeghi, the housewife. “Young people can’t find good jobs, or get married, or become independent.”
Sores Maleki, a 62-year-old retired accountant, said talks with the US to loosen sanctions would help jumpstart Iran’s economy.
“We should go and talk to America with courage and strength. We are able to do that, others have done it,” Maleki said. “We can make concessions and win concessions. We have no other choice.”
But such negotiations will be difficult, said Reza Forghani, a 51-year-old civil servant. He said Iran needed to get the US to “sign a very firm contract that they can’t escape and have to honor.” Otherwise, Iran should drop out of the nuclear deal.
“When someone refuses to keep promises and commitments, you can tolerate it a couple of times, but then certainly you can’t remain committed forever. You will react,” Forghani said. “So I don’t think we should remain committed to the deal until the end.”
Yet for Iran’s youth, many of whom celebrated the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal in the streets, the situation now feels more akin to a funeral. Many openly discuss their options to obtain a visa — any visa — to get abroad.
“Young people have a lot of stress and the future is unknown,” said Hamedzadeh, the 20-year-old civil servant. “The future is so unknown that you can’t plan. The only thing they can do is to somehow leave Iran and build a life abroad.”