LAHORE  -  The federal government has appointed another MBBS doctor Saqib Aziz as PIA CEO, in violation of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) rules as the new CEO is already holding three portfolios and has no aviation experience.

Rule 9 of Chapter-11 of SECP speaks about the appointment of CEO and chairman of any company, “The chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of a company by whatever name called shall not be the same person. The chairman shall be elected subject to such terms and conditions and responsibilities as provided under Section 192 of the act and these regulations.”

Rule 4 of the Public Sector Companies (Corporate Governance) Rules, 2013, amended in 2017 says, “The office of the chairman will be separate and his responsibilities distinct from those of the chief executive.”

It is pertinent to recall here that Lt-Gen (r) Asif Yasin Mailk was serving as defence secretary in 2013 when there was no aviation division and the aviation was under Ministry of Defence. Asif was given additional charge of the PIA chairman, but the then chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had directed him to relinquish charge of one of his offices.

A few days back, the Supreme Court of Pakistan removed Musharraf Rasool Cyan, chief executive officer of PIA. One of the major reasons for his removal was his qualification as he was an MBBS doctor and had zero experience of aviation industry at the time of his selection as CEO.

The federal cabinet has appointed another MBBS doctor, Dr Muhammad Saqib Aziz, as CEO PIA. This person also has no aviation experience like Cyan. However, this time difference is that he is secretary aviation, chairman, Board of Director of CAA, chairman, Board of Directors of PIACL and now PIA CEO.

A senior aviation expert seeking anonymity said that earlier it was presumed that it is bureaucracy nexus, but later it transpired that it is a strong nexus of MBBS doctors within the bureaucracy led by Dr Ijaz Munir. Dr Ijaz Munir supported Dr Musharraf Rasool Cyan during his tenure as PIACL chairman and aviation secretary. Now, being secretary, Establishment Division, he has given Dr Muhammad Saqib Aziz four portfolios having serious conflict of interests and bad governance. While this appointment, threats to the lives of the airline passengers have not been kept in mind.

The aviation expert believed these bureaucrats are misleading the new government of Imran Khan to prove that the slogan of change is meaningless. The government should take a serious notice of this conspiracy, he lamented.

The sources privy to the development said Dr Ijaz munir enjoyed good working relations with former principal secretary to prime minister, Fawad Hassan Fawad, in the previous government. He was first appointed as Azad Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary, then secretary aviation and now establishment secretary. Dr Ijaz Munir and Arbab Shehzad, adviser to prime minister on establishment division, are close relatives. In 1998, Dr Ijaz Munir served as DC in KP districts where former PIA CEO Dr Musharraf Rasool was his subordinate as assistant commissioner.

When contacted, spokesman for PIA Mashhud Tajwar said the appointment of CEO is not authority of the airline management, but it is the establishment and the federal cabinet which make this appointment.

Answering the call of this scribe, Establishment Secretary Dr Ijaz Munir said he does not know that the appointment of Saqib Aziz is in violation of the SECP rules. He, however, added: “I will look into the matter and if his appointment is found to be in violation of the rules, he will be changed. As to the qualification of Musharraf Rasool, he said he was not a simple MBBS doctor but foreign qualified in other disciplines.