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Thursday December 02, 2021

SC says PIA’s report just an eyewash

December 15, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) Monday expressed dissatisfaction over the report submitted by PIA terming it just an eyewash and sought a comprehensive report regarding its business revival plan.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard the case of Air Marshal Arshad Malik (retd) as PIA’s CEO as well as suo motu case regarding fake licences of national flag carrier’s pilots. PIA’s chief executive officer along with his counsel Naeem Bukhari appeared before the court.

“We have asked you to submit a comprehensive report stating business revival plan for the national flag carrier,” Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked the counsel for PIA Salman Akram Raja.

Naeem Bukhari submitted that Arshad Malik has retired from air force and now the government has appointed him as a full-fledged CEO of PIA. He submitted that as the affairs of the national flag carrier got worse after the issue erupted regarding the fake licences of its pilots due to which the service of the national flag carrier was suspended by the European countries. But now Arshad Malik has taken over the charge as permanent CEO and he will try his best to restore the performance of the Corporation, Naeem Bukhari assured the court.

However, the chief justice observed that one has to have professional capabilities to serve such an entity and bring the corporation on a par with the international standard as it has to compete globally in air service.

How many people you have appointed in the corporation since you assumed the charge of the national flag carrier? the CJ asked Arshad Malik. No one, he replied. Naeem Bukhari in the meanwhile told the court that the national flag carrier has a debt of some Rs480 billion.

Turning towards Salman Akram Raja, counsel for PIA, the chief justice asked him that he has not mentioned in his report as what the PIA is going to deliver with regard to its performance.

“You need professional capabilities while running an entity and corporation and especially while competing at the international level,” the CJ told Raja. You had told us that your pilots had been grounded for having fake licences but you had not mentioned anything in your report,” Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked the counsel for PIA.

Justice Bandial further asked the counsel as to what steps he had taken so far along with the Civil Aviation for clearing the licences of pilots? “And how many pilots have so far been expelled from PIA for possessing fake licences or have they been grounded,” Justice Bandial further asked Salman Akram Raja, adding as to how many pilots have been suspended so far.

Salman Akram Raja submitted that some 141 pilots were declared suspicious for having fake licences of which 15 have been expelled from the national flag carrier adding that the corporation itself scrutinising the licences of pilots. The counsel further submitted that so far 110 pilots have been cleared. “Give us the complete list and a comprehensive report”, Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked the counsel.

Meanwhile, Naeem Bukhari told the court that due to COVID-19 majority of airlines around the globe have been grounded. Later the court adjourned the hearing until January and directed for filing a fresh and comprehensive report