ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Monday issued notices to the federal government in response to a plea challenging the legality of non-engineering staff employment for engineering slots in the national flag carrier.
Advocate Umer Gilani made the federation of Pakistan through the secretary Ministry of Aviation, Pakistan International Airlines Corporation through its chief executive officer and Pakistan Engineering Council through its registrar as respondents on behalf of his client Engr Mian Khuram Ahsan.
During his submissions before the bench, Advocate Umer Gilani contended that his client has invoked the jurisdiction of the IHC in the public interest only. Advocate Gilani apprised that Pakistan’s national flag carrier is employing a very large number of non-engineers at the posts of “aircraft engineer”, adding that one out of eight chief engineers, 25 out of 53 deputy chief engineers and 334 out 476 aircraft engineers, are non-engineers performing duties with Pakistan International Airlines at the moment.
“In stark violation of this law and going against the general principles of merit, the national flag carrier is appointing such persons whose only educational qualification is Matric and who, in many cases started out as “helpers” and “cleaners and eventually rose through the ranks through organisational politics,” Advocate Gilani told the bench.
Substantiating his arguments before the bench Advocate Umer Gilani contended that under provisions of the Pakistan Engineering Council Act, 1976 no person may carry out professional engineering work other than somebody who is a registered engineer. He further said that only such persons can be registered by the PEC as engineers who have obtained accredited engineering qualifications.
Citing a number of superior court verdicts, Advocate Gilani argued the superior courts have enforced Section 27 of the PEC Act saying the courts have repeatedly restrained the Federal Government and other state institutions from appointing non-engineers at posts that require the conduct of professional engineering work.
Advocate Umer Gilani urged the court to issue directives to the PIA to ensure that only “engineers” are appointed to the posts of Chief Engineer, Deputy Chief Engineer, and Aircraft Engineer, in compliance with Section 27 of the Pakistan Engineering Council Act and in the light of the top court verdict.
He requested the court to restrain the PIA from appointing non-engineers to the posts of Chief Engineer, Deputy Chief Engineer, and Aircraft Engineer in the Engineering and Maintenance Department and to act in accordance with the law.
Advocate Gilani also prayed the court to issue directives to Pakistan Engineering Council to take such steps as are necessary for ensuring compliance with Section 27 of the PEC Act while the PIA takes initiatives to fill the slots of engineers.
Later, the bench, after the preliminary hearing, issued notices to the respondents to submit a reply in the matter within two weeks.