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January 23, 2019

Ad tailor-made to hire PIA CEO: Rabbani

Top Story

January 23, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed Tuesday that presently eleven officers from Pakistan Air Force (PAF) were working in the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on deputation, as former chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani alleged the ad to fill the post of chief executive officer of the airlines was tailor-made for incumbent CEO.

During the question hour, Rabbani questioned the ‘objective’ of certain qualifications mentioned in the ad to seek applications for the post of CEO, including experience of war operations and other defence disciplines, alleging it was tailor-made to accommodate the incumbent CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik.

He wondered what these defence disciplines had to do with running the airlines while referring to the details given in response to a question by Senator Rana Mahmoodul Hassan of PML-N. Pointing out to the written reply, Rabbani said that the militarisation of PIA had already been carried out and asked was there any need to do it further. According to the reply given by Minister In-charge for Aviation Division Muhammad Mian Soomro, besides Air Marshal, AVM Soban Nazir Syed, AVM Noor Abbas, AIR COMModores Khalidur Rehman, Jibran Saleem Butt, Jawad Zafar, wing commanders Hafiz Tahir Mehmood, Muhammad Asim, Kamran Anjum and flight lieutenant Tahir Farooq were working in the airlines.

Likewise, during the last five years, another 22 officers from PAF were appointed in PIA and repatriated. Moreover, senior official from Ministry of Information also served in the airlines on deputation.

Senators Sherry Rehman, Talha Mehmood decried the lack of awareness and capacity to effectively and make optimum use of foreign assistance given in millions of dollars in connection with various projects of climate change in Pakistan.

They pointed out that $30 million were received alone for scaling up of global lake outburst flood risk reduction in northern Pakistan but just 0.16 million utilised so far. Another amount of dollars 5 million were received for sustainable land management programme but just dollars 2.30 million utilised.

Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said that the Ministry was working on various tasks to make full use of funds and effectively represent Pakistan abroad with regards to climate change-related matters.

Replying to supplementary questions, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that in contrast to the much-touted increase in exports during PML-N regime, Pakistan’s exports had witnessed decline and he then cited figures on the country’s exports with China, Turkey, UAE, Afghanistan, Iran and some other countries.

In response to a question by Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh, Soomro said that during the last five years, 64 PIA cargo staff was found involved in taking out valuables from the luggage of passengers and they were fired.

He explained that of these, 36 were found indulged in undesirable activities and 17 were involved in theft. Senator Ateeq asked were they terminated from service only or cases also registered against them. To this, the minister said that it was too costly to pursue cases but in certain cases, like narcotics-related issues, agencies like ANF filed cases.

Answering another question by Senator Muhammad Talha Mehmood, Soomro said that new operators, namely Air Sial and Askari Air Pakistan had been issued regular public transport (RPT) licence by the Civil Aviation Authority. However, none of them had yet started flight operations.

Moreover, approval of RPT licences had been granted to Liberty Air and Afeefzara Airways, however, so far licences have not been issued to them owing to few regulatory requirements awaited to be completed by these airlines.

The minister told the House that as of January 15, 2019, six aircraft were under scheduled/unscheduled maintenance process while PIA owned eight planes while another 20 were on dry lease in its fleet.

The Senate was informed that Prime Minister Imran Khan had authorised the Commerce Division to recall any trade officer in case of poor performance on the basis of key performance indicators and so far, five trade officers, including consul general Montreal, commercial counselors Osaka, Buenos Aires and Kuala Lampur had been recalled for their below average performance.

Two other officers from London and Sao Paulo had also been directed to relinquish the charge of their posts last month.

Senate Raza Rabbani called for convening a meeting of Senate committee of the whole to discuss the never ending extrajudicial killings in the country under the state policy, which started with the killing of former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Speaking on a point of public importance in the House, Rabbani regretted that for a long time, under the state’s well thought out policy, extrajudicial killings were being committed and it had a pause with the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti. He urged Leader of the House Shibli Faraz and Leader of Opposition Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq to convene a meeting of the committee of the whole through a motion.

Rabbani pointed out that when the state felt that while remaining within the ambit of the Constitution, it was impossible to eliminate terrorists the security forces were given the license of extrajudicial killings and there was not hurdle in the way and then recently, the Sahiwal incident happened, wherein the state, which was supposed to give smile, snatched from the faces of children, whose parents were shot dead before their eyes.

“We witnessed Sahiwal incident, wherein parents and their sister were killed in front of children. The children whose smile is the future of this country, this state was supposed to give them the smile, but it snatched that smile from their faces,” he lamented.

He said that personnel of the state kept targeting a couple riding a scooter with bullets in Karachi, which he insisted, compelled him to recall what former leader of opposition in Senate Aitzaz Ahsan used to say, “The state will compassionate like a mother. Is this what the state should do, a state which Aitzaz termed like mother has become today a witch, which kills its citizens by unleashing aggression on them”.

Rabbani wondered as to which system was this? If this was civil, which too had four different applications and then we gave you military courts but even then extrajudicial killings did not stop.

He asserted that unless the rule of law was established, this situation would persist and he added the issue of missing persons and kidnapping of journalists, adding if kidnapping of journalists had stopped, was not there a pressure on media house owners to fire working journalists, who were not toeing the line of the establishment.

In such a situation, he contended that it was the responsibility of the Parliament to take the lead, adding “if the Parliament failed to take lead in stopping all this, the history will place it in the category, where it will place the criminals”.

Later, taking part in Presidential Address to the joint sitting of Parliament, Lt Gen (Retd) Salahuddin Termizi of PML-N said that speech of the president was nothing but a written stuff given to him by baboos.

“The vision of our president can be to perform Haj along with his family at state expense and Umra after every few months and get salute from armed forces on March 24 and August 14, etc. There is no importance of president in the country except US,” he lamented. He noted that a US President, a chief executive of the country, would deliver a presidential speech to present his vision and seek the Parliament’s support to realise that.

He proposed to amend the constitution instead of delivering hollow speeches in the Parliament and contended that if it was so important, then the prime minister should come and give a speech instead of the president.

The senator regretted that there were no healthy traditions in political parties as well like in Britain, where his party asked him to resign over WMDs and he did so.

Senators Dr Jehnazeb Jamaldini, Tahir Bizenjo, Sassui Palijo cautioned against rolling back the 18th Amendment. Senator Bizenjo of the National Party rejected the perception that the amendment was like six points given by Sh. Mujibur Rehman, pointing out the landmark legislation drafted by a 17-member committee, headed by Rabbani. All parliamentary parties had contributed to its coming in to being. He insisted all democratic forces would resist any bid to roll it back.

Senator Mir Kabeer Shahi believed the political parties should consider doing away with Article 48, as a debate on presidential address was wastage of time. He asked had any president ever addressed any issue or played a role in strengthening of the federation.

Senator Abdul Rehman Malik proposed that before the presidential address to the joint sitting of the Parliament, the president should visit the provincial legislatures and get updated on matters.

Senator Jamaldeni said, “There are some important issues which should have been given due importance but no attention is paid to them. The president should have mentioned all the important issues confronting the country”.

He questioned why Saudi Arabia was given a go-ahead to set up oil refinery at Gwadar and asked was China consulted, which is a strategic partner in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. Riyadh was also being given the Reko Diq project.

Winding up the speech, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said unlike his predecessors Dr Arif Alvi is a self-made president, a thorough professional, who reached this position after hectic political struggle of 22 years.

He said that establishment has been showing a great restrain since 2007, which has paved the way for political stability in the country. He said that the president had given all the policy guidelines to the government, which the opposition should acknowledge.

Speaking on a point of public importance, Senator Usman Kakar of PkMAP raised the issue of a video clip of a 13-year-old boy Hayat Khan in North Waziristan, who, he said had made an appeal for reusing his mother and sister from some security forces ‘dishonouring’ them while already his father and brother had been taken away by the security forces.

Senator Kakar insisted that the ISPR should respond to it and asked all political parties to take a stand on this issue. “Pashtuns want a reply from ISPR on this, as the prime minister, the chief minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the governor are already silent on this clip,” he noted.

He warned not to treat people of erstwhile tribal areas like people of Bangladesh, which resulted in disintegration of the country, as nothing was dearer than honour. “The sacrifices of people of [erstwhile Fata] surpass those rendered by armed forces of Pakistan. Stop this highhandedness. God forbid if people of tribal areas come face to face, the defeat will be of the military,” he warned.

He also raised the issue of Majeed Kanju’s nephew, allegedly kidnapped by unknown persons in Rahim Yar Khan; he urged for referring it to the concerned committee of the House. The chairman sought report from Punjab government. Kanju is leader of Seraiki National Party.

Earlier, JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmad also raised this matter and quoted the boy, who is disabled, as alleging that some security personnel would spend night at their home, trampling the sanctity of privacy.

Senate Raza Rabbani called for convening a meeting of Senate committee of the whole to discuss the never ending extrajudicial killings in the country under the state policy, which started with the killing of former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Speaking on a point of public importance in the House, Rabbani regretted that for a long time, under the state’s well thought out policy, extrajudicial killings were being committed and it had a pause with the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti. He urged Leader of the House Shibli Faraz and Leader of Opposition Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq to convene a meeting of the committee of the whole through a motion.

Rabbani pointed out that when the state felt that while remaining within the ambit of the Constitution, it was impossible to eliminate terrorists the security forces were given the license of extrajudicial killings and there was not hurdle in the way and then recently, the Sahiwal incident happened, wherein the state, which was supposed to give smile, snatched from the faces of children, whose parents were shot dead before their eyes.

“We witnessed Sahiwal incident, wherein parents and their sister were killed in front of children. The children whose smile is the future of this country, this state was supposed to give them the smile, but it snatched that smile from their faces,” he lamented.

He said that personnel of the state kept targeting a couple riding a scooter with bullets in Karachi, which he insisted, compelled him to recall what former leader of opposition in Senate Aitzaz Ahsan used to say, “The state will compassionate like a mother. Is this what the state should do, a state which Aitzaz termed like mother has become today a witch, which kills its citizens by unleashing aggression on them”.

Rabbani wondered as to which system was this? If this was civil, which too had four different applications and then we gave you military courts but even then extrajudicial killings did not stop.

He asserted that unless the rule of law was established, this situation would persist and he added the issue of missing persons and kidnapping of journalists, adding if kidnapping of journalists had stopped, was not there a pressure on media house owners to fire working journalists, who were not toeing the line of the establishment.

In such a situation, he contended that it was the responsibility of the Parliament to take the lead, adding “if the Parliament failed to take lead in stopping all this, the history will place it in the category, where it will place the criminals”.

Later, taking part in Presidential Address to the joint sitting of Parliament, Lt Gen (Retd) Salahuddin Termizi of PML-N said that speech of the president was nothing but a written stuff given to him by baboos.

“The vision of our president can be to perform Haj along with his family at state expense and Umra after every few months and get salute from armed forces on March 24 and August 14, etc. There is no importance of president in the country except US,” he lamented. He noted that a US President, a chief executive of the country, would deliver a presidential speech to present his vision and seek the Parliament’s support to realise that.

He proposed to amend the constitution instead of delivering hollow speeches in the Parliament and contended that if it was so important, then the prime minister should come and give a speech instead of the president.

The senator regretted that there were no healthy traditions in political parties as well like in Britain, where his party asked him to resign over WMDs and he did so.

Senators Dr Jehnazeb Jamaldini, Tahir Bizenjo, Sassui Palijo cautioned against rolling back the 18th Amendment. Senator Bizenjo of the National Party rejected the perception that the amendment was like six points given by Sh. Mujibur Rehman, pointing out the landmark legislation drafted by a 17-member committee, headed by Rabbani. All parliamentary parties had contributed to its coming in to being. He insisted all democratic forces would resist any bid to roll it back.

Senator Mir Kabeer Shahi believed the political parties should consider doing away with Article 48, as a debate on presidential address was wastage of time. He asked had any president ever addressed any issue or played a role in strengthening of the federation.

Senator Abdul Rehman Malik proposed that before the presidential address to the joint sitting of the Parliament, the president should visit the provincial legislatures and get updated on matters.

Senator Jamaldeni said, “There are some important issues which should have been given due importance but no attention is paid to them. The president should have mentioned all the important issues confronting the country”.

He questioned why a Muslim country was given a go-ahead to set up oil refinery at Gwadar and asked was China consulted, which is a strategic partner in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. The Muslim country was also being given the Reko Diq project, he added.

Winding up the speech, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said unlike his predecessors Dr Arif Alvi is a self-made president, a thorough professional, who reached this position after hectic political struggle of 22 years.

He said that establishment has been showing a great restrain since 2007, which has paved the way for political stability in the country. He said that the president had given all the policy guidelines to the government, which the opposition should acknowledge.

Speaking on a point of public importance, Senator Usman Kakar of PkMAP raised the issue of a video clip of a 13-year-old boy handicapped Hayat Khan in North Waziristan, who, he said had made an appeal for reusing his mother and sister from ‘dishonouring’ while already his father and brother had been taken away.

Senator Kakar insisted that the relevant department should respond to it and asked all political parties to take a stand on this issue. “Pashtuns want a reply on this, as the prime minister, the chief minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the governor are already silent on this clip,” he noted.

The sacrifices of people of [erstwhile Fata] are not less than anyone else, he said.

He also raised the issue of Majeed Kanju’s nephew, allegedly kidnapped by unknown persons in Rahim Yar Khan; he urged for referring it to the committee concerned of the House. The chairman sought report from Punjab government. Kanju is leader of Seraiki National Party.

Earlier, JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmad also raised this matter and quoted the handicapped boy, who is disabled, as alleging that some men would spend night at their home, trampling the sanctity of privacy.