PIA CEO Bernd Hildenbrand’s failure to meet the deadline for his return to Pakistan is not shocking in the least. The German national was accused of massive corruption and sought permission to leave the country for a personal visit before he was investigated. It is strange that the Interior Ministry granted the man’s wish, even when the country now has no recourse to ensure his return. The only thing to do is ask Interpol to issue a red warrant for his return, and even that has slim chances of working.

The Interior Ministry’s decision in this case is inexplicable. Hildenbrand’s name is linked to shady deals where a perfectly functional PIA plane was sold to a German company for less than one fourth of the value and leasing planes from the Sri Lankan Airlines at double than the going rate. Surely the footprint of the CEO is too hard to ignore in these spurious agreements. The worst part however, is not that Mr Hildenbrand will not face justice, but that others involved in the same crimes will use his name to keep themselves out of trouble. Everyone from the CFO to the rank and file can commit crimes in the name of the CEO and the government has chosen to let him slip from its grasp.

PIA’s woes are never-ending – the airline is in shambles. Before we reignitie the oft-heard debate of how to fix the airline, genuine cases of corruption and criminal intent to make money of the airline must be punished so that the precedent of accountability within the organisation is established. However, if the government cannot even hold the CEO responsible, is there anyone that is willing to turn the airline around?