No plan to privatize PIA but to restructure it: says Sarwar, July 24, 2020

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No plan to privatize PIA but to restructure it: says Sarwar, July 24, 2020

         ISLAMABAD-Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Friday said Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) would not be privatized but to be structured for making it profit oriented organization.

In response to a  Calling Attention Notice raised by PML-N Senator Javed Abbassi, PPPP Senator Mian Raza Rabbani and NP Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi regarding the suspension of operation of PIA flights by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to their respective countries / region, he said all out efforts were being made to restore PIA past glory.

The minister said that Licensing authority was under observation and action would be taken against those involved in fake documentation.

He said that serving and retired employees involved in this practice would be made accountable and action would be taken against them.

Ghulam Sarwar informed the Upper House that ten countries forwarded licenses of 174 Pakistani pilots for verification of which 166 have been returned after verification so far.  UAE has also sent licenses of 74 pilots for verification out of which 48 have been returned after due verification so far, he added.

He categorically said that the government has no intention to lay off pilots from PIA and induct pilots from Shaheen Airlines or those retired from Pakistan Air Force.

About the appointment of Chief Executive Officer PIA, the minister said that matter was pending before the Supreme Court which would better interpret it. However, he said that 11 CEOs of PIA were reshuffled during the last ten years but the present government would take no pressure for appointment of officials. 

He said that people have given us mandate to make accountable to those involved in damaging the national exchequer.

The accountability process would remain continue across the board and mandate of people would be respected.

He said that the government functionaries have presented themselves for the accountability and this process would remain continue.

Regarding suspension of operation of PIA flights by the European Union Aviation Authority, the minister said consultation was underway to file appeal into the matter adding that appeal would be file before August 30.

He said EU Aviation Authority has not imposed ban on flight operation for the first time. He said it was not only my statement or ill-fated plane crash in Karachi, which led to the suspension but PIA has been already under observation by EASA for safety hazards since 2007.

The Minister expressed hope that PIA flight operations to European countries would resume by the end of this year

Regarding pilots licenses, the minister said pilots’ license verification was being done in the great interest of the organization.

He said the SC has taken suo moto notice into alleged fake degree holders in PIA in 2018. After through verification 658 employees in PIA were sacked on charges of fake degree, he said.

The employed filed their petitions in high courts and SC against their termination but all petitions were dismissed by the Apex Court.

He said after proper inquiry, licenses of 262 pilots were found suspected and dubious and during the investigation 28 licenses were canceled.

He said the matter of dubious licenses would be brought to the logical end and criminal cases will be lodged against those who were found guilty.