On 16 July, PIA surviving on dole by tax payers, left revenue passengers stranded at Skardu Airport, because a serviceable aircraft in clear weather was busy on an extended trip entertaining guests of DG CAA who was invited by Chairman and MD PIA. The guest list of over 100 persons enjoying this complimentary flight, whose occupants were savoring majestic birds-view of Nanga Parbat will explain what ails bankrupt national airline and CAA which is supposed to regulate national aviation industry as independent monitoring agency. The Federal Aviation Agency of USA prohibits any of its employees to accept complimentary tickets from airline under their regulatory jurisdiction to ensure there is no conflict of interest. What an irony DG CAA had no hesitation to accept this invitation for free ride with guests, while revenue paying passengers suffered. 

The management of both PIA and CAA embark on advertising campaigns displaying slogans such as “Passenger is the King”, but this is bitter reality. The lady passengers who reached Skardu airport for 12.30pm departure were made to wait for over 4 hours, without basic facilities such as separate Toilet for Women, which was reserved for VIP use alongwith transit lounge facilities by Skardu Airport management which works directly under administrative control of DG CAA. 

Compare this with role of Saigol and Nur Khan, both men of integrity, appointed by ZAB and given free hand. They resurrected national airline after 1971 debacle, transforming it to leading airline of Asia. It is on record that Military Secretary to former PM requested Nur Khan to delay flight from Karachi to Islamabad by 15 minutes to accommodate PM Bhutto who used to travel by PIA, but he politely declined. Nur Khan resigned when Zia junta took over and started interfering. 

GULL ZAMAN,  

Peshawar, July 19.