SC orders Airblue to clear Margalla hills crash dues


–Airblue CEO tells CJP Prime Minister Abbasi has ‘no links’ with airline, draws flak for delaying victims’ compensation

–CJP also calls for details of Bhoja Air tragedy, slams PIA CEO for delaying employees’ salaries 


KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday ordered Airblue airlines to pay the compensation promised to the families of the victims of 2010 Margalla hills crash.

The top judge gave the directions while hearing a case pertaining to pilots’ fake degrees after those affected by the Airblue tragedy reached the top court’s Karachi registry.

The affected families told Chief Justice Nisar that the airline had not cleared their compensation amounts till date. At this, the CJP reprimanded officials of the concerned airline.

“You are the CEO of the company, and you don’t know this is happening?” Justice Nisar said to Managing Director of Airblue airlines, Junaid Khan.

“147 people were martyred in the crash, every person should have been compensated with Rs2.5 million,” the affected citizen demanded. “Why has the amount not been paid,” the top judge questioned Khan. Justice Nisar then ordered the amount to be deposited in court. “Bring the list along with stamp papers,” the court ordered Khan.

The court also demanded the list of all those affected by the tragedy along with compensation amount details.

The CJP has also summoned details of Bhoja Air tragedy.

Prior to the affected citizens reaching court, the bench heard arguments on the fake degrees case.

“We have 101 pilots and a staff of 251,” Khan told the court. The bench expressed anger over the delay in confirmation and verification of degrees.

Why have the pilots’ degrees not been verified,” Justice Nisar questioned as he imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Airblue. “Amount should be deposited in the Fatimid Foundation,” he further ordered. “If any irresponsibility is demonstrated, then contempt of court proceedings will be taken against MD Junaid Khan,” the CJP announced.

Meanwhile, Khan assured the court that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has no links with the airline.

Earlier, it was reported that the CJP 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 SC.

The CJP also reprimanded CEO PIA Dr Musharraf Rasool Cyan for not paying the employees’ dues on time.

He observed that 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.

“We have 498 pilots for 32 planes,” Cyan said, adding that degrees of 369 pilots have been verified while 39 have taken stay orders regarding their degrees.

At this, the court gave one week’s time to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and PIA to submit a detailed report.

The chief of Shaheen Air was also reprimanded over failure to provide information in the case. Additionally, the court slapped the airline with a fine of Rs100,000. The fine will be paid to Fatimid Foundation as well. “You have dual nationality and you play with the court’s orders?” the top judge said to the chief, who is also a Canadian citizen.

“Strict action will be taken if complete information is not provided within 3 days,” Justice Nisar remarked.