KARACHI: Supreme Court did not summon Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, remarked Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar while hearing a case on fake degrees of pilots for which heads of all Pakistani airlines were called on Saturday.
Earlier, it was reported that the chief justice issued orders for Abbasi’s appearance as the chief executive of Airblue — as he owns the airline — and not as the premier. But a notification issued later from the Prime Minister Office stated that Abbasi did not receive any summons from the Supreme Court.
During Saturday’s hearing at Supreme Court Karachi registry, the chief justice remarked contempt of court proceedings would be initiated against Airblue Managing Director Junaid Khan [not Abbasi] if the airline did not verify degrees of its pilots.
The chief justice also expressed anger over Airblue management not verifying the degrees of its pilots despite court orders, and ordered the managing director to deposit Rs 50,000 at Fatimid Foundation as a penalty.
While answering the chief justice’s questions regarding the case, Junaid said Airblue had 101 pilots and overall strength of the staff stood at 251.
Besides the Airblue managing director, Pakistan International Airlines CEO Musharraf Rasool was also present at the hearing.
The chief justice questioned Musharraf Rasool on non-payment of salaries to PIA employees, observing high officials in the airline would not be inconvenienced if salaries were withheld because they make millions but it could burden the lower staff who heavily relied on their monthly income to run their households.
On the fake degrees case, Justice Nisar questioned the PIA CEO on the number of pilots. To this, Musharraf Rasool said the airline had 32 aircraft and 498 pilots. He added degrees of 369 pilots have been verified while 39 have taken stay order regarding their degrees.
However, the chief justice ordered PIA CEO to present a report by 4pm and ordered him to pay Rs50,000 in fine by depositing the amount at Fatimid Foundation.
Shaheen Air International CEO Ehsan Sehbai also appeared in court.
When asked about the verification of pilots’ degrees, Shaheen Air CEO told the court process was under way.
The chief justice anger at the procedure not complete and directed Sehbai to deposit Rs100,000 at Fatimid Foundation as penalty.