SHC orders CAA to complete inquiry into PIA’s faulty engines within a month

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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed on Tuesday the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to complete inquiry into the engines of Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) ATR aircraft seizing during flights.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Agha Faisal and Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed, issued the directive while hearing a plea pertaining to PIA planes crashing as a result of the aircraft engines stopping during flight

The plea states that 55 PIA aircraft met with accidents over 60 years and of these, 20 incidents were reported to have occurred as a consequence of engines seizing during flights. It refers to the plane crash that took place on December 7, 2016, claiming 47 lives, including that of famous singer-turned-preacher Junaid Jamshed. No progress has been made in the inquiry of the incident while CAA’s report has revealed terrifying facts [about the crash],” the plea mentions.

In response to the plea, CAA officials maintained before the court that a month’s time was required to prepare the investigation report.

Granting a month’s extension to prepare the report, the court stressed that it be informed of the details of the incident and persons responsible for the crash should be identified in the report. “[Affected] families have been waiting for the investigation report for long,” the court remarked.

The court has ordered the CAA officials to submit the final report by March 17.

Assets beyond means case

Another two-member bench, comprising SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Shaikh and Justice Omar Sial, sought separate replies from the director generals (DGs) of the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB’s) Sukkur and Karachi wings on the bail pleas of former provincial minister Sharjeel Inam Memon and others accused of accumulating assets beyond means.

Issuing the directives for the NAB DGs, the court stated that the reply submitted earlier by the NAB Karachi DG was “dissatisfactory.” Justice Sial remarked that the court had sought a reply pertaining to the amendment in NAB laws that but one submitted was “not appropriate.”

At this, the NAB prosecutor informed the bench that a complete report on amendments in NAB laws would be submitted to the court on February 28, during the hearing of a separate case.

Concluding the hearing, the court extended the interim bails of Memon and other accused, directing the DGs of NAB’s Sukkur and Karachi wings to submit separate replies on the bail pleas by April 7.

According to NAB, Memon and 11 others have been found involved in embezzling funds adding up to Rs2.27 billion and acquired assets beyond their means of income.

Collection of an additional fee

Meanwhile, the bench comprising Justice Faisal and Justice Sayeed issued notices to the respondents over a plea pertaining to the collection of additional fees from students and failing them, allegedly for not being able to pay the increased fee, at Ilma University.

Alleging that students who are unable to pay the increased fee are given fewer marks, the plea states that private universities are doing business in the name of education. It maintains that complaints in this regard were made to the Higher Education Commission multiple times but no action was taken.

At the hearing, the petitioner accused the varsity of playing with the future of the students, saying that they “are being harassed [and pressurized] into paying an additional fee.”

In response, the court inquired, why the affected students and their families did not approach the court on the matter. “How can you register a case on the basis of random news?” it further questioned, addressing the petitioner.

The petitioner said that he had approached the court on the matter after the issue, which was of public interest, was highlighted during a television program on a private television channel.

Concluding the hearing, the court issued notices to the parties, seeking their replies on the plea.

Acquittal plea rejected

Meanwhile, a bench comprising Justice KK Agha and Justice Muhammad Saleem Jessar rejected a plea seeking the acquittal of two convicts, Masood Alam and Muhammad Shamim, sentenced to life imprisonment for kidnapping a three-year-old boy and demanding a ransom for his release.

The court, however, commuted the life term meted out to the convicts to seven years of imprisonment, observing that the case did not qualify to be that of kidnapping for ransom but just abduction.

An anti-terrorism court had sentenced Alam and Shamim to life imprisonment after finding them guilty of kidnapping three-year-old Iftekhar from Pirabad and demanding a ransom for his release. However, police had rescued Iftekhar prior to the payment of the ransom.

PSL matches

The bench comprising Justice Faisal and Justice Sayeed also reject a plea, pertaining to the organization of Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan.

Petitioner Vakeel Abdul Jalil stated in the plea that the people of K-P and Balochistan also wanted to see national and international cricketers playing on home grounds. The plea contended that Peshawar Zalmi [from K-P] and Quetta Gladiators [from Balochistan] had been crowned PSL champions, yet no match, from among the 34 scheduled, would be held in either of the two provinces.

“I am a big fan of cricket,” the petitioner said, adding that PSL matches should also be held in K-P so that every team would get a chance to play in the city it belonged to.

The court, however, remarked, “Why didn’t you raise any objections when no kabaddi matches were held in Karachi,” and rejected the plea.

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