ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday permitted Air Marshal Arshad Mehmood Malik to continue as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited (PIACL).

 A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard Malik’s appeal against the Sindh High Court order that restrained him from performing functions as CEO of PIA.

The court remarked that it expected the Air Marshal to do well and deliver for the national carrier. The court summoned the management and the office-bearers of CBA PIA to deal with the issue of work forces and various contracts issued by PIA to various persons and entities. Meanwhile Arshad Malik has been asked to be in attendance in the meeting of PIA management and office-bearers of the CBA to be held at the Supreme Court.

During the hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan appeared before the bench and said that though he represents the federation, in the instant case he is appearing as the Chief Law Officer of the Court to assist to the bench so that the matter could be decided in the right way.

He informed the court that Air Marshal Arshad Malik was appointed CEO of PIA through legal process and requested the bench to allow him to continue as CEO as the PIA has shown good results in its recent operations.

The bench proposed that the larger issues of the PIA should also be dealt with. The order said that the primary issue bogging down PIA’s performance is that of human resources. Employment in PIA is excessive in ratio of the planes it operates, and this factor does not allow PIA to become a feasible and professional entity.

 The court noted that the second issue is that the PIA is awarding contracts for equipment and services from person or entities who are not selected on merit. The court added that it must surely be done on the basis of favoritism on account of the political exigency, which is also deteriorating PIA’s performance.

 

The court said that another issue is that the PIA officers are frequently transferred which is not benefiting the PIA. The bench in view of all these factors summoned the management and the office-bearers of CBA to appear before the apex court to deal with the matter. The court also sought the full details of all the contracts awarded by the PIA at all levels. The report should detail the utilities drawn by the PIA and which contract should be retained and which is to be revoked based on its feasibility. The court directed the PIA management to submit the report within one month.

 

The bench adjourned the hearing till April 18 for further proceedings in this matter.

 

Regarding the coronavirus epidemic, the bench noted that the virus entered the country through airports and borders – especially the Iran border. The Chief Justice remarked that the government is responsible for it. “The entire government machinery and the procedure are in disarray,” said Justice Ijaz.

 

Justice Gulzar said that they know what sorts of arrangements were made in Taftan where the people who came from Iran were kept. He added, “From that place more disease was brought into the country. We have been asked to close the courts.” Justice Ijaz said that the apex court have taken precaution measures on the entrance gates.