Senate Special Committee on performance of PIA has constituted a sub-committee to probe the matter of sale of PIA Airbus A-310 to a German firm in violation of PPRA rules.
The sub-committee will comprise of Senators Farhatullah Babar, Tahir Hussain Mashhadi and Nauman Wazir Khattak and will probe about Air Commodore Imran Akhter’s role in it among all others involved in the scandal.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah on Thursday. Advisor to Prime Minister on Civil Aviation told the meeting that FIA and NAB are already probing the matter and their inquiries are underway. The Committee directed the sub-committee to also take input from the two bodies about their progress on the matter.
Senators expressed surprise over the fact that the plane was abandoned and PIA has paid huge amounts as parking fee. Members were apprehensive that eight months have passed and there is no proper reply as to why and how the sale agreement was carried out.
Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak observed that if the plane was sold as scrap, 16 million Pakistani Rupees could have been earned while in this agreement the frame and other equipment were sold out for just 7.3 million Pakistani Rupees.
Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the inquiry conducted by Civil Aviation Authority states that the summary for sale was initiated by Air Commodore Imran Mukhtar while he had said in a meeting of this Committee that he is not aware of this process.
Secretary CAA, when asked about any such sale agreements from the past, told the meeting that in 2014-15 C-10 aircrafts were sold to the highest bidders after auction. Senator Saleem Mandviwala asked the authority about why this process was not followed in this case and also questioned the involvement of the German CEO.
PIA Flight Operations
The Committee, while discussing other agendas before the meeting, recommended having more flight operations between Islamabad and Quetta. Regarding closing of direct flights from Islamabad to New York, the advisor told the meeting that due to heavy losses PIA has decided to carry on with only those flight operations that are commercially viable.
Upgradation of Quetta Airport
Advisor to Prime Minister also told the meeting that the new deadline for completion of upgradation work at Quetta airport is 15 July 2018. He said that work has slowed down over the last one year but it is being tried to expedite it. The Committee was also told that PIA is going through serious financial crisis and increase in pensions of employees is not possible.
PIA Structural Changes
The Committee expressed anguish over non-compliance of the sub-committee’s recommendations regarding structural changes required in PIA even after more than five months. The Committee chairperson noted that as on oversight committee it is the right of this committee to have constructive criticism on the national flag carrier that is literally collapsing and its issues are piling up.
The meeting was attended among others by Senators Sherry Rehman, Nuzhat Sadiq, Usman Kakar, Tahir Mashhadi, Taj Afridi, Ashok Kumar, Nauman Wazir, Farhatullah Babar, Azam Swati, Advisor to Prime Minister on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi, Secretary CAA and CEO PIA among others.