Six members of the board of directors of PIA have stepped down in the wake of the resignation of advisor to the prime minister on civil aviation Shujaat Azeem who was facing a court trial over dual nationality. Criticism that he was a favourite of Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and besides his position as an executive within the Royal Airport Services was thought to be something of conflict of interest in certain matters.

Where he has done the morally right thing by tendering his resignation, the pressure lobby that wants him back isn’t helping the airline by suggesting any alternatives. Rather than politics, the airline needs quick recovery from the prevailing turbulence.

Mr Azeem’s appointment was one facet of the efforts by Prime Minister Mian Nawaz to put PIA’s house in order; some steps that he took, for instance the separation of the aviation department from the defence ministry are to be hailed. In an interview with this paper some time back, he mentioned some of the measures he intended to take which he said would be disliked by some big guns in the industry such as winding up the manual billing system, closing down the airline offline stations and executing a substantial layoff. It stands to reason that Mr Azeem's decisions may have caused controversy, bit it is unfortunate that he was lost before there was even time to begin. It is also unfair of PML-N to have dragged Mr Azeem through the indignity of newspaper reports, if it knew that a dual national in the post was against the rules.

Taking the step of hiring talent from abroad is not a conspiracy against the nation, but at times utterly necessary, seeing that so much of our talent has been disappointed with the unfairness of the work ethic in Pakistan, and has left for a better quality of life and professional recognition abroad. There is a shortage of specialised management who can bring the much needed change. If not permanent positions, target based consultancy for dual nationals could be introduced and contracts with them signed to overhaul the airline and bring it within a certain budget, setting it on an upward trajectory towards profit, with stipulated earning targets. There should be no objection to this from the courts, and if PIA top tier management is changed to those genuinely interested in the airlines survival and prosperity, without it being a burden on the state exchequer, this management will then hopefully recognise the soundness of the recommendations of professional consultants.