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June 2, 2020

PIA memories

Newspost

 
June 2, 2020

I have been a consistent admirer of Imran Khan with hopes that the rampant institutionalized corruption and abuse of power that wrecked state-owned enterprises like PIA will cease and process of reforms initiated, or else privatized. Belonging to a family with many peers working in PIA, there is a certain nostalgic relationship with the airline.

The PM must intervene as custodian of state assets and sell Roosevelt Hotel, if needed, but with transparency. Pakistan-origin US nationals have witnessed persistent efforts by successive government to gobble expensive real estate like Hotel Roosevelt, valued at over $1 billion, located in Manhattan.

Late Zulfiqar Bhutto appointed Rafique Saigol and Nur Khan to salvage PIA from collapse after the 1971 debacle. NK invested in the hospitality industry to boost revenues. In 1978 PIA Investment, 100 percent owned by PIA, in partnership with Saudi royals, signed a deal with the Millstein Brothers, owners of Hotel Roosevelt, for 20-year long term lease with the option to purchase at a fixed price. Unfortunately, Nur Khan chose to resign when Zia took over, and thereafter PIA has been in a continuous state of decline. In 1999, PIA exercised its option to purchase Roosevelt but signed the deal for an exorbitant amount.

Imran Shaikh

Texas, USA