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February 27, 2020

Fixing PIA

Newspost

 
February 27, 2020

While growing up in the 1960s, like any Pakistani, I would get a great sense of pride reading about PIA, the new routes they were flying, the building of the Intercontinental Hotel in Karachi and PIA flight attendants getting Pierre Cardin designed smart uniforms. We would hear about PIA management and pilots helping set up airlines in Jordan, Malaysia, Singapore, Malta among others. However, ever since Bhutto turned the economy of the country upside down by nationalising all the major industries, banks, airline, shipping, schools and colleges and telling the workers that they owned the businesses, PIA was never able fly at the heights it did during the 1960s. Matters were made worse by the introduction of the Open Sky Policies, where all benefits went to other airlines. The PIA unions are so strong that even if Air Marshal Nur Khan were to come alive and take over as MD PIA he would be unable to straighten things out.

The only reason PIA planes are still able to take off is because PIA is being subsidised by taxpayers’ money. How long can PIA last under these circumstances? It is time for all political parties to get together and decide on the best way to make it profitable again. If they can’t come to an agreement, PIA should be shutdown. The money saved could be better spent on the education and health of those living below the poverty line. Let me add that one must appreciate all those PIA staff who have worked diligently and with dedication. It is for those that I would feel sorry if PIA were to collapse.

Syed Hussein El-Edroos

Islamabad