LAHORE - Even after the suspension of seven PIA officials allegedly involved in overbooking of Umrah flights and an inquiry has been conducted against them, miseries of the pilgrims could not be minimised.

Sources claimed that two flights Pk-7609 and Pk-709 were overbooked by 50 and 20 passengers respectively and several passengers were denied of boarding cards. PIA officer seeking anonymity said that Pk-7609 was overbooked with 50 passengers, out of whom five passengers did not report while 27 were upgraded to business class and 18 passengers were denied of boarding cards.

Another officer said that the PIA chairman had issued clear instructions to all the staff not to exercise overbooking on Ummrah flights due to the sanctity of the matter and an Ehram-clad passenger should not be denied of boarding at any cost. But PIA officials kept on making money from Umrah flight operations by being part of the illegal business.

Sources claimed that office bearers of CBA union (Air league of PIA employees) were involved in this illegal activity.

Air League president Shamim Akmal was not well these days but his senior vice-president Rehan Butt was patronising such elements involved in this dirty business.

However, the PIA chairman had suspended seven employees of Central Reservation Control (CRC) but no big fish was ever questioned. An inquiry has been started against them but no senior officer or Union office bearer was among the suspended ones.

When contacted, PIA spokesman Hanif Rana said that the chairman had suspended seven officials involved in malpractice and inquiry had been started. He said that General Manager Security Col Jamshed had been appointed as Inquiry officer and was asked to report the chairman within four days. He was confident that action would be taken against responsible.

When this reporter tried to contact Air League president Shamim Akmal, his cell phone stayed unattended.