The government has delegated powers of renewing existing airline licences to Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan.
Earlier, the aviation secretary had been granting approval for the issuance and renewal of airline licences. However, in line with the Supreme Court decision, the PTI government decided to amend rules to end discretionary powers of the aviation secretary.
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It gave such powers to the cabinet. But now, the government has delegated the licence renewal powers to the federal aviation minister. Cases of issuing new licences and cancelling existing licences will continue to be brought before the federal government, or the cabinet, for consideration and decision.
In a recent meeting of the cabinet, the Aviation Division sought the transfer of powers from the federal government to the minister or secretary of the division for issuing, renewing and cancelling the licences of airlines. The cabinet did not grant discretionary powers to the aviation secretary. It also did not give powers to the federal minister for licence issuance and cancellation.
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According to Section 2, Part XI, of Civil Aviation Rules 1994, the application for a license shall be made to and signed by the person duly authorized by the Federal government. According to the legislation, any amendments, suspensions and cancellations must be approved by the Federal government as well. Therefore, ensuring oversight over any person of authority and limiting discretion.
In the meeting, the Minister of Law and Justice clarified that the law was very clear and was without any ambiguity that the federal government could delegate its powers to any officer or authority subject to such conditions and in such circumstances as it may deem appropriate. It further clarified that the words officer or authority covered the minister and secretary.
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However, the cabinet members argued that the powers of issuing new licences and cancelling the old ones should continue to rest with the federal government. Cases of renewal could be handled at the division level, they said.
The devolution of power from the cabinet to the aviation minister may prove to be beneficial if the Aviation Division continues to improve in the ways the minister has claimed.
Secretary Aviation Division/Director General Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority Shahrukh Nusrat presiding over a high-level consultative meeting held here on Monday 4th March 2019 to review the draft National Aviation Policy 2019 at CAA Headquarters. pic.twitter.com/Vtw49Si1Tx
— PCAAOfficial (@official_pcaa) March 5, 2019
Ghulam Sarwar Khan’s tenure has seen the launch of National Aviation Policy 2019 and the issuance of license for tourism promotion and regional integration (TPRI). The aforementioned policy aims to strengthen the existing regulatory mechanisms of aviation safety and security oversight, and provide a clear framework for the aviation sector to combat emerging challenges and sustain growth.
He said separation of regulatory and service provider functions of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has been executed. The ground-breaking of New Gwadar International Airport was performed by the Prime Minister on March 29, the upgradation of airfield lighting systems at Gwadar and Quetta airports had been carried out, and the upgradation of the Faisalabad airport was completed.
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He signalled at foreign airlines’ renewed confidence in Pakistan as British Airways operations from Islamabad have resumed.
In October 2019, he announced the creation of 3,200 job opportunities under the Aviation Ministry for the youth of Pakistan. “This is to serve the vision of Prime Minister of Pakistan”, he said while talking to the news.
Pakistan is experiencing a long awaited improvement in its institutions as we observe the Aviation Division making strides and PIA breaking the curse of consistent losses.