This is apropos Shahzad Khalil’s letter on the issue of revamping PIA published in your newspaper dated August 12. The problem with our paid civil or khaki bureaucracy and political elite is not their lack of capabilities, but the perception and almost a belief that public owned state assets are there to be exploited, and utilised by their favoured individuals. If it were lack of capability their self-owned private business enterprises would not have been profitable and expanded, whilst the taxpayer funded corporations and public sector assets have gone bust under their watch.

This uniformity of perception has persisted whether Pakistan is ruled by military dictators like Zia and Musharraf, or elected civil governments of PPP, PML-N, and PML-Q etc. In the process PIA, Pakistan Railways, OGRA, NICL, OGDC, CAA, NHA, PSO, PSM etc have become almost bankrupt, while these semi-literate amigos, including those holding fake degrees, who were beneficiaries of favors have gone from rags to riches. This is the sad reality, however unfortunate and repulsive it may be. It was under a military government that PIA ended up getting life expired B747-200 from Cathay Pacific, whilst under another civil government this unfortunate airline ended up buying B747-300 without engines, a sale which was unique in the history of aviation. It was again PIA which was forced to buy more expensive B-777 during Musharraf’s tenure, turning down the offer from United Airlines for the same aircraft at less than 65 percent of the cost, whilst PIA faced the embarrassment of sanctions by EU for poor maintenance and safety violations following its controversial procurement of spare parts deals. PIA's present fate is the cumulative result of years of criminal abuse by various governments, with no light at end of tunnel in sight.


Peshawar, August 12.