| Urge federal government to reconstitute commission and add representatives of pilots’ association PALPA in commission

ISLAMABAD             -          Former chairman of the Senate and central leader of Pakistan People’s Party Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, labour leader Karamat Ali along with other members of the trade union movement yesterday challenged and rejected the composition of the Inquiry Commission constituted by the Federal Government with reference to the PIA air crash in Karachi.

In a joint statement issued here, Senator Rabbani and others including Karamat Ali, Secretary of National Labour Council and Executive Director of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, Nasir Mansoor, Secretary General, National Trade Union Federation, Habibuddin Junaidi, President, People’s Labour Bureau Sindh; Liaquat Sahi, Democratic Wokrers Union State Bank of Pakistan; Ms. Zehra Khan, Home-based Women Workers Federation; Ms. Farhat Parveen, NOW Communities and others also demanded that representatives of the PIA trade unions may also be heard during the inquiry.

They pointed out that the history of air crash Inquiry Commissions in Pakistan is quite sordid. Reports have been doctored, tampered and even not released. The reason was to protect the vested interest in terms of the management.

The statement said the Inquiry Commission constituted by the federal government was soaked in conflict of interest, as it was an inquiry by one’s own peers, the Air Force officers.

“The inquiry officers are junior in rank to the officer whose Organisation is being investigated. The commission comprises only Air Force officers, no person conversant with commercial flying and procedures has been included. The commission is devoid of any rated pilot or one having flown the airbus. The Civil Aviation and air traffic control will be under scrutiny while the CAA is represented in the commission, the statement added.

The air crash can be viewed in isolation but a holistic view of the management, procedures, job security and the relationship between the management and the unions/associations will need to be taken to ascertain whether the employees of PIAC were functioning under duress and strain, the statement said.

It added: “Since the injection of a serving officer as the CEO of PIAC, there has been a total clamp down in the airline. The final nail in the coffin was imposition of the Essential Services Act, as a consequence all trade unions and association were banned and all agreements between the management and all categories of employees were made void, plunging the employees into uncertainty about job security and career planning, the statement asserted.”

The decision to impose essential service law on PIAC and banning trade unions was ultra-constitutional act and tantamount to violate fundamental rights granted by the constitution and committed under the UN declarations.

While the top management enjoys the perks, the cabin crew and other staff are denied of their allowances, it said.

They urged the federal government to reconstitute the commission in the light of the above objections and add representatives of pilots’ association PALPA in the commission.

They also demanded to restore all trade union activities in the airline by lifting the Essential Services Act from the organistion.