Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed on Thursday took suo motu notice over fake flying licenses of pilots. Around 40 per cent of pilots in Pakistan have fake flying licenses, according to Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan. The 40 per cent ‘fake’ licence holders also include pilots who are not ‘active flyers’. At present, Pakistan has a total of 860 active pilots, which include PIA, Serene Air and Air Blue pilots. However, out of 860 pilots, 262 pilots did not give the exam themselves and asked someone else to sit on their behalf, aviation minister Khan added. The minister also said that pilots in Pakistan were appointed on political basis, and merit-criteria was ignored. Against this backdrop, an inquiry has been initiated and show-cause notice has been issued to 54 pilots. “PIA acknowledges that fake licenses is not just a PIA issue but spread across the entire Pakistani airline industry,” spokesperson Abdullah Khan said, adding that some of the fake pilots also fly for foreign carriers. The results of the investigation were announced Wednesday as part of a preliminary report into a plane crash that killed 97 people in the southern city of Karachi on May 22. The PIA plane crashed after taking off from Lahore, killing all but two of the passengers and crew on board. According to the report, the pilots were chatting about the coronavirus and repeatedly ignored warnings from air traffic controllers before the plane went down in a residential area near the airport. “The pilots were discussing corona throughout the flight. They were not focused. They talked about the coronavirus and how their families were affected,” Khan said, adding that the pilots were “overconfident.” According to Khan, the pilots were told three times by air traffic controllers that the plane was too high and they should not attempt to land, “but the captain did not pay any heed to these instructions.” The pilots proceeded with trying to land — without lowering the landing gear. “The aircraft touched the runway surface on its engines,” the report said. The engines scrubbed the runway, causing sparks and irreparable damage. The pilots pulled the plane back into the air, but the damaged engines failed and caused the plane to crash, according to the report.