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National

May 19, 2017

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PIA restructuring process launched, Senate body told

PIA restructuring process launched, Senate body told

Committee orders immediate suspension of pilot

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation Division Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi on Thursday said that the process for complete restructuring of the national flag-carrier had already been launched.

He also admitted that there had been lack of discipline and accountability in the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the past. The Senate Special Committee on the Performance of PIA met here with Mushahidullah Khan in the chair and reviewed progress and implementation status of the Sub-Committee, sale of PIA Airbus to a German firm in violation of the PPRA rules, incident of sleeping pilot during flight and presence of Chinese woman passenger in the cockpit. Mehtab Abbasi said that there were three options for the PIA, either let the airline operate as it is, or declare it bankrupt and lay off its all staff or its complete restructuring.

The government opted for the third option and coercive measures were being taken to revive the national flag-carrier. However, he said that restructuring was not an easy task. Earlier, responding to implementation status of the report of the sub-committee, the adviser said the recommendations were very important and the PIA was just a business company.

He requested the committee that implementation should not be made binding otherwise it would be difficult to run the organisation smoothly. Chairman of the committee Mushahidullah Khan said the government owned 91 per cent share of the PIA besides constituting and appointing the CEO.

He said under the Constitution, the recommendations of the committee were binding upon the PIA and the Aviation Division to implement it. The committee was apprised that a PIA plane was chartered to a UK-based firm for two weeks rather than an Israeli firm. The-then German CEO had authorised the deal.

Mehtab Abbasi said it was a business deal but it was a bad one. However, he said Air France label was used while shooting the film. He said an inquiry was conducted into the matter besides referring it to the Federal Investigation Agency. He said the German CEO had already been suspended while show-cause notice to another serving air force senior official was served through the Ministry of Defence.

Regarding sleeping of the pilot, the committee was informed that Captain Amir Hashmi had been grounded immediately.

The committee expressed dismay over slow pace of inquiry into the matter. About Chinese lady passenger in the cockpit, the committee was apprised that pilot Shahzed Aziz had also been grounded, besides transferring him to Karachi.

Responding to a query, the committee was apprised that the pilot was also facing an active case of fake degree against him, but he had obtained stay order from the Sindh High Court. Mehtab Abbasi said standard operating procedures were being immediately amended to stop recurrence of such incidents.

He also ordered an immediate suspension of the pilot. Farhatullah Babar said the House had already adopted the report of the sub-committee and now implementation of the recommendations was binding upon the management.

He said the management had to present compliance report to the committee; otherwise, it would be tantamount to undermine the Parliament. The advisor said due process was being adopted in all such cases so the cases remained strong.

The court had granted 240 stay orders in such cases, he added. The committee meeting was attended by Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Chaudhry Tanvir, Sherry Rehman, Farhatullah Babar, Taj Muhammad Afridi and Kamil Ali Agha.

 

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