My father Mohammad Shafiq was a flight engineer in PIA, he was sent on Mandatory Retirement Scheme (MRS) in July 2008 not because the airline did not need him, but to favor a close relative of a bureaucrat closely related to the most powerful public office holder in country. He was denied justice and died on October 27, 2013 waiting for his dues to be paid, which PIA had promised him and others in an offer made by PIA in LHC. My father was a heart patient and these conditions made his ailment deteriorate because of stress and frustration.

Although such arbitrary measures were unheard of before the tenure of PPP, yet over 20 employees aged 57 to 60 years were sent home with assurance that “All such Flight Engineers shall be entitled to payment of salary and other benefits for intervening period till they reach the age of 60 years and after 60 years normal retirement benefits shall be admissible”. During the hearing of the writ, Justice Hafez Naseem, based on remarks by lawyers representing PIA, advised the appellants, that even if they won the case on merit, it seemed as if personal vendetta was involved and the corporation would drag them for years in courts filing appeals and seeking adjournments.

The vindictiveness and discrimination of PIA management can be gauged from the fact that after SC Judgment in SM Ismail Naqvi and 237 others Vs PIA, every employee was sent on MRS, they have been paid all their dues, except some unfortunate few. Two more flight engineers were sent on MRS, few months after this group were paid all dues that they would have earned, had they been in service till the age of 60. Almost five years have passed from the date of the forced early retirement and only partial compensation has been given, instead of the promised dues.

Meantime PIA has also been rehiring on contract flight engineers beyond the age of 60, while refusing to give dues to these unfortunate few, sent on forced early retirement by PPP government, nor considering them for contract.

JAWAD SHAFIQ,

Lahore, October 30.