Saudi military commander lauds Pakistan army’s efforts for regional peace

Lieutenant General Fahad Bin Abdullah Mohammad Al-Motair, Commander of the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF), meets Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi on Sept. 30, 2019. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 01 October 2019

Saudi military commander lauds Pakistan army’s efforts for regional peace

  • The visiting Saudi general met with Pakistan army chief to discuss matters of mutual and professional interest, ISPR says
  • Both sides also discussed the training and capacity building of the Royal Saudi Land Forces

ISLAMABAD: Lt. Gen. Fahad Bin Abdullah Mohammad Al-Motair, Commander of the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF), met Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi on Monday to discuss regional security situation.
According to an official handout circulated by the military’s media wing, ISPR, the Saudi commander was also accompanied by the Kingdom’s envoy to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, and was given a Guard of Honor at the army’s General Headquarters. Al-Motair also paid tribute to martyred soldiers, laying a floral wreath at the Yadgar-e-Shuhada (Martyrs’ Memorial).
During the meeting, Bajwa expressed Pakistan army’s resolute support toward the training and capacity building of RSLF personnel. Both sides discussed matters of mutual and professional interests, the statement added.
Before the conclusion of the meeting, Al-Motair applauded Pakistan Army’s professionalism and praised its efforts for peace and regional stability.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy close diplomatic relations. The administration in Islamabad has heavily relied on the Kingdom for economic and diplomatic support. The Saudi authorities also came its rescue by offering it a $6 billion relief package in the face of a massive current account deficit and balance-of-payments crisis confronting Pakistan’s cash-strapped economy.
Prime Minister Khan visited the Kingdom a number of times in the last one year. The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also visited Pakistan in February this year and expressed keen interest to invest in Pakistan’s economy.


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.”