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Islamabad

May 20, 2017

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Senate body grills PIA for recent blunders

Senate body grills PIA for recent blunders

Islamabad

The Senate Special Committee on Performance of PIA Thursday expressed serious apprehensions about the system of accountability in the administration of the national flag carrier after it was informed that the captain involved in violating the rules and inviting a Chinese passenger in the cockpit on May 06 in PK-853 has not been suspended yet.

The committee members insisted that despite becoming a company, PIA should continue to be under the parliamentary oversight. 

The meeting was held with Senator Mushahidullah Khan as its convener here at the Parliament House. The forum was told that the captain had been grounded and stationed at the Karachi office but had not been suspended. 

It was also informed that the same pilot flew the flight again from Beijing to Islamabad despite being already grounded and had previously also been involved in harassment inquiries and fake degree cases.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation Affairs Sardar Mehtab Ahmad assured the committee that the pilot would be suspended Thursday and the suspension orders would be communicated with the convener and members of the special committee.

The committee also discussed the matter of Captain Amir Hashmi, who was reportedly sleeping during flight for more than one hour in PK-785 on 26 April this year and the matter of heroine found in the PIA aircraft at Heathrow airport a few days back.

Regarding the recommendations of sub-committee of this special committee, the committee and the adviser found themselves at odds on the subject whether the recommendations of Parliamentary sub-committee are binding on PIA or not. 

The sub-committee members after having 15-20 long sittings with all stakeholders in Karachi and Islamabad, had compiled a detailed report which was later laid in Senate sitting. 

The committee sought the implementation status of different recommendations made in the report but the Adviser was of the view that PIACL was now a company and not under direct control of the government, hence making the recommendations binding might affect its functioning according to the new business model.

The committee members, however, were of the view that the government still held 91 percent of shares of the newly-transformed company and hence it required Parliamentary oversight. It was decided that the matter would be discussed with Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani and the status of recommendations would be decided afterwards.

Tempers rose high during the proceedings, particularly when the adviser contended that after having been made a company, PIA might not be bound to comply with the committee’s recommendations. PML-Q Senator Kamil Ali Agha hotly contested it and insisted that all the institutions were accountable to the parliament and parliamentary committees.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman also criticised the adviser for this contention while PML-F Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah emphasised that one could not remain silent on the incident, which happened in London. 

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