ISLAMABAD – In the backdrop of Dawn’s news story, a senior pilot of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), who was accused of compromising air safety has sent a legal notice to Dawn newspaper for ‘concocting’ and ‘fabricating’ a story about him and asked to tender an unconditional apology for ‘tarnishing’ the image of the national carrier.
On May 5, a story published on Dawn said that the senior pilot Amir Akhtar Hashmi handed over the aircraft to an under-training pilot soon after take-off and took a two-and-a-half-hour nap in the passenger compartment, compromising air safety and putting the lives of over 305 passengers at risk.
The pilot, in the legal notice, has alleged that the story was completely concocted, fabricated and based on motivated allegations. It alleged that the news story was picked up by international news outlets including India, and played well in the hands of ‘enemies of Pakistan’.
“You published a news item on the front page of Daily Dawn, qua our client, alleging that he slept during duty, which was a totally fake. fabricated. motivated allegation and purely a figment of your reporter’s fertile imagination, aimed at achieving a selected group’s, nefarious. and malafide goal to tarnish the unblemished image and repute of a well respected senior pilot,” the notice read
It said that the said news clipping was published without any verification as to the veracity of its claims, concocted and created by a group of motivated individuals. who hold a personal grudge arid bias against the pilot.
The lawyer for the pilot said that it is on record that on the flight in question, the pilot was accompanied by two rated co-pilots and never left cockpit for more than 15 minutes.
“Your reporter who created this story, has hitherto, twice published such concocted stories against the pilot and gone to the extent of personally approaching the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to appease his venom of a vendetta when CAA paid no heed to his false and concocted stories,” it further read.
“The picture published in said news, clearly demonstrates that it was taken on a different flight and that too during the night, whereas the flight in question PK-785, flew during the day, on 26-04- 2017 from Islamabad to London at 11:00 hours arriving at 15:55,” the notice alleged.
“That it is a matter of record that in view of his recommendation and the trade unions, whose means of loot and plunder of National Exchequer, shall be seriously curtailed, threatened out client on a number of occasions and that is why certain vested interests, launched a campaign of vilification and mudslinging against our client.”
The pilot demanded that Dawn and the reporter should tender an unconditional apology to the pilot.
“In the view of foregoing you as such are required to issue an unconditional apology and immediately publish a clarification of your story, on the Front Page of your newspaper, failing which we have to explicit instructions, to resort to necessary legal remedial measures solely at your risk as to the cost and consequences.”