ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee of Defence has advised the government to review board of directors of the PIA and include professional persons in the board. The Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production held here under the chairmanship of Senator Nisar A Memon on Wednesday. Members of the Committee, Senators Sadia Abassi, Asif Jatoi, Naeem Hussain Chatta and Kamran Murtaza besides Secretary Defence Kamran Rasool and senior officers from PIA attended the meeting.
The meeting took serious note of absence of Defence Minister and Chairman of PIA Ch. Ahmed Mukhtar, who according to the chair had not turned up to the meeting violating the parliamentary norms. “At least he should have informed the chair about his not attending the meeting,” Memon said. The committee advised to Federal Secretary of Defence to inform the Minister about the members’ reservations and ensure his presence in the next meeting to inform the committee about the new plan of the PIA.
The committee also asked to provide to give details of salaries, facilities and privileges of the former three Chairmen and Federal Defence Minister as Chairman of the PIA. He said that the Minister who also is an ex-officio member of the committee should explain to the committee in writing that why he failed to attend the meeting in person. To a question, MD PIA told that at present no privatization plan of the organization was in hand except to achieve financial turn around of it.
Adding to it, Kamran Rasool said, “all options have been kept open as PIA has been causing burden of Rs 1.5 billion per month to the exchequer.” Giving briefing Aijaz said that the services of four Directors and 16 General Managers have been terminated, as a first step to get rid of a huge body of the organization. He said that accumulated looses to the airline are Rs 42 billion in addition to loan of US $ 331 million.
He said that the services of the 70 sacked engineers have been reinstated as the airline has decided to fly the fleet of Boeing 747 for Ummarah and Hajj operations. This step will help the airline to avoid leasing of aircraft from other airlines to cope with the demand during Hajj and Ummrah seasons, he added. He dispelled the impression that the airline was facing shortage of air crew for 777 series thus there was hardly any need for “denied-rest” payment to any pilot.
The MD pointed out about the alleged discriminatory approach of CAA towards PIA and said being a national airline it should be given preferences while conducting operations whereas it was not done so in practice. He said that the proposed increase in the air-fare for upcoming Hajj season is less than what is being charged by other airlines in the region.-SANA