How come international donor agencies like IMF, which insist on withdrawal of all subsidies on electricity and gas, are not bothered about an airline owned by the state, funded by the taxpayer, resorting to exploitation of its monopoly. That is what PIA is doing. PIA has declared an operating profit of Rs. 2 billion in the last quarter, which does not necessarily mean that the balance sheet also has some profit in it. PIA charges a huge amount as tax from passengers, which it considers part of 'revenue in hand' before paying taxes. The other major anomaly is that the PIA fares on all sectors are much higher today than the fares it charged when fuel was selling at $147 per barrel. Today the average price of fuel for the last quarter is below $50 per barrel, which means that it has dropped by over 66% as compared to $147. In July 2008 fuel comprised almost 52% of the total operating cost, it now constitutes no more than 30% of the total operating cost. Meanwhile, the Pak rupees to dollar exchange rate has risen from Rs 74 to a dollar to Rs 80 to a dollar which means a devaluation of just 8%. Almost 60% of PIA sales are made overseas in foreign exchange. Any commercial organization going in a loss can show itself to be in a profit by overcharging its customers despite reduced sales, especially when its cost of doing business has come down so drastically. PSO can become profitable if it sells fuel at the price that it was selling it when fuel prices per barrel were $147. This is not what we call ethical business practice, especially for an organization owned by the government and is by charter bound to serve the taxpayers, the owners of all state-owned enterprises. -IRFAN BUTT, UK, via e-mail, May 23.