Pakistani pilot faces charge under anti-terror law

Islamabad, Nov 16 (IANS) A Pakistani pilot was charged under the anti-terrorism act for crashlanding his aircraft in Lahore, said a daily which demanded that it is about time that lapses in security of passengers are punished with the seriousness these deserve.

An editorial “Taking safety seriously” in The Nation said that the police registered a case on Sunday under the anti-terrorism act against the pilot of the Shaheen Air flight that crashlanded in Lahore on November 3.

At least 10 people were injured in the airplane’s crashlanding.

“The damage could have been much worse as the pilot of the aircraft was not only fatigued but was also under the influence of alcohol, the acting director general of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told sources.”

The daily said that “it is about time that lapses in security of passengers are punished with the seriousness that it deserves. In the past few years, two major crashes involving planes owned by private airliners have highlighted the lenient attitudes in Pakistan towards passenger safety”.

“Earlier this year, a highly influential pilot of Pakistan International Airlines caused a serious air safety hazard when he operated a Trans-Atlantic long-haul flight without mandatory rest, putting the lives of over 350 passengers to unnecessary risk.”

The editorial added that the “mental and physical health of pilots and crew members is of utmost importance; when airlines all over the world are aware of this, then why is Pakistan lagging behind?”

The aviation authorities should enhance their oversight of airlines’ management of the health of their crew, and studies should be done to introduce a system for managing the fatigue risk of crew members, it said.

“The safety and peace of mind of airline passenger must be fully guaranteed, and this must definitely take precedence over the lax attitude adopted where airline crew in concerned,” it added.

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