ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Sunday directed the Pakistan International Airline Managing Director not to remove the national flag from the tail of planes till further orders.

The PIA is replacing the national flag within image of Markhor.

A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Mushir Alam issued the directives while hearing the pilots’ fake degrees case.

At the start of the hearing, the chief justice asked the PIA Managing Director why the national flag was being removed from the tail of PIA aircraft? MD Musharraf Rasool Cyan replied that they were replacing the flag with Markhor.

Cyan also apprised the court that Rs2.7million would be spent on one plane to replace the national flag as a logo with Markhor, which is country’s national animal. At this, Justice Nisar said that it was not Rs2.7million, but according to their information, the amount was Rs3.4million.

The MD informed the bench that a considerable amount was spent after every four-year to re-paint the national flag carrier. He said that the job to replace the national flag with Markhor was being done by the PIA’s engineering department, while the sticker of Markhor will be imported from Ireland, adding that one plane has already been painted.

At this, the CJP directed him to stop removing the flag from other planes till further orders and inquired whether the PIA was making profits. He remarked that the government granted a Rs20 billion bailout package to the PIA but the airline management is using it for replacing the flag.

The chief justice said the PIA MD that the court would also examine his performance and asked what qualification he possesses for the present job. The CJP directed the CEO to improve PIA services by providing better facilities instead of replacing the flag with Markhor.

During the hearing, Managing Director Airblue Junaid Khan presented cheques to the bench for the payment of compensation to the heirs of passengers killed in its plane crash. The Airblue aircraft crashed on 28 July 2010 in Islamabad, killing all 146 passengers and six crew on board.

He said that the compensation amount was for the families of 136 passengers, adding the heirs of 10 passengers were in litigation with the airline. Each passenger family is given Rs5 million, he said.

However, he denied that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is the owner of Airblue. The chief justice said they would also see the matter of markup as the compensation was paid after the delay of seven years. He further directed the MD Airblue to file the report about the compensation paid to families.

Later, the Supreme Court deferred the hearing till the second week of June.



Court bars PIA from using Markhor logo on planes