Every government since 1979, including the present one, considers state owned enterprises such as PIA, spoils of war to be abused for appointment of cronies as MD, obliging politically powerful in recruitment of unqualified individuals in violation of merit, appointment of GSAs and GHAs, irregularities in procurement contracts, and kickbacks in fleet induction resulting in losses to both airline and its subsidiaries such hotel Roosevelt, Hotel Scribe etc. What stopped all these governments to appoint professionals with integrity and no conflict of interest, like Nur Khan, Rafique Saigol or a Gordon Bethune? Is it not ironic that PPP Leader of Opposition is shedding crocodile tears, when his party played havoc with airlines procurement, recruitment and human resources from 2008 to 2013, while their personal assets expanded? A transparent semi privatization, guaranteeing no political or bureaucratic interference is the only practical solution to save PIA and retain it as national flag carrier.

PIA’s problems started when Nur Khan resigned in protest against day to day interference by Zia Junta and thereafter is an endless list of abuses such as :- Controversial sale in 1984 of brand new DC-10-30s in exchange for old Boeing 747-200 with almost expired hull life and a reckless Open Sky Policy by PM Nawaz replacing international aviation practice of bilateral agreements; In 2002 turning down United Airlines offer of White Tail brand new B777 at 65% manufacturer price and instead opting for direct purchase because of kickbacks, followed by change of GSA’s and GHA including Saudi Arabia and selecting an unknown vendor located in UK for technical spares by AVM Niaz; Appointment of an O’Level as MD in 2008, found guilty of gross financial irregularities in pilot recruitment by AVM Mushaf and another controversial crony in 2010, both going on rampage, selling jobs, recruiting fake degree holders, patronizing pilferage of revenue by cartel of few travel agents fleecing Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, surrendering PIA routes and appointing Transworld Fze based in Dubai for supply of aircraft spares leading to grounding half the fleet. Can anybody justify what benefit was served by recruitment of American national Saleem Sayani as DMD on fabulous salary of $20,000 per month and another controversial former Clearing Agent as Director Procurement, Marketing and finally promoted as DMD, when there was no dearth of more qualified and experienced professionals within airline.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, December 10.