Indian leadership endangering space, says Fawad Chaudhary

Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry during the interview with Arab News. (AN photo by Yazeed Alsamrani/File)
Updated 08 September 2019

Indian leadership endangering space, says Fawad Chaudhary

  • Indian Chandrayaan, a $145 million robotic moon mission, appears to have crashed on Friday
  • Pakistan minister calls Indian space ambitions PM Modi’s “political gimmickry”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhary, said Indian and Pakistani scientists were “very capable” but that the Indian leadership had endangered space through its recently failed lunar missions.
The latest, $145 million space mission, Chandrayaan, Sanskrit for “moon craft,” was launched in July this year, poised to make India the first country in the world to probe the unexplored lunar south pole. On Saturday, India’s space agency said it had lost contact with its spacecraft just as it was about to touch down. The cause of the failure is not yet known.
In March, India intentionally destroyed one of its satellites called ‘Shakti’ with a missile, in a move NASA described as “unacceptable” as the resulting debris posed a significant risk to the safety of astronauts on board the International Space Station.
“With the irresponsible attitude India have shown towards space, (India) is actually playing havoc with... humanity,” Chaudhary told Arab News.
“Once powered descent starts, we have no control over it,” Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said at his last press appearance on Saturday. “We have done all the simulation possible, for systems and subsystems, done whatever is humanly possible.”
Chaudhary said the larger issue was the political paradigm of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and called India’s space ambitions “political gimmicks.”
“Indian leadership is actually playing havoc with their own people. Our galaxies are delicate,” he said.
Pakistan announced in July that it would send its first astronaut into space by 2022.


EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

Updated 01 July 2020

EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

  • The step has been taken due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards
  • PIA expects the ‘earliest possible’ lifting of suspension after action by the government and the airline

ISLAMABAD: The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) authorization to fly to the bloc for six months, the airline said on Tuesday, in a major blow to the country’s flag carrier.
Separately, the safety agency said it took the action due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards at all times.
The suspension follows Pakistan’s grounding of 262 of the country’s 860 pilots — including 141 of PIA’s 434 — whose licenses the aviation minister termed “dubious.”
“EASA has temporarily suspended PIA’s authorization to operate to the EU member states for a period of six months effective July 1, 2020 with the right to appeal,” PIA said in a statement. It added it would temporarily discontinue all its flights to Europe.
Confirming the move in an emailed statement, the EASA referred to a recent investigation by Pakistan which it said showed a “large share” of pilot licenses to be invalid.
Pakistan’s grounding of the pilots followed a preliminary report on a PIA crash in Karachi that killed 97 people last month.
PIA said it is in contact with the EASA to take corrective measures and appeal against the decision, adding that it expected the “earliest possible” lifting of the suspension after action by the government and the airline.
The EASA also suspended the authorization of another Pakistani airline, Vision Air International.
Vision Air International did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Following the EASA’s decision, the UK Civil Aviation Authority said it, too, was withdrawing PIA’s permit to operate from three of its airports, as required under law.
“PIA flights from Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester airports are suspended with immediate effect,” a spokesman for the UK authority told Reuters.
The three were major flying destinations for the airline.
Meanwhile, Pakistani pilots and their union, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA), say there are discrepancies in the government’s list of pilots with licenses deemed dubious and are demanding a judicial investigation.
PIA and private airline Air Blue have also queried the list with PIA saying 36 of its pilots mentioned had either retired or left the airline, while Air Blue said it no longer employed seven of nine pilots on the list.
“It contains names of highly educated and qualified pilots who have passed all the tests,” PALPA’s president, Chaudhry Salman, told Reuters. “We want a fair and impartial resolution to this matter.”
An official at Pakistan’s aviation ministry, Abdul Sattar Khokhar, said they did not have full details of the discrepancies. “The issue is being sorted out in consultation with airlines and civil aviation authorities.”