The federal cabinet has okayed the appointment of a new chairman for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). The decision came in the backdrop of a court hearing in which Chief Justice of Pakistan (JCP), Justice Gulzar Ahmed, raised questions on the incumbent chief, Air Marshal Arshad Malik’s appointment.
Air Marshal Arshad Malik has been instrumental in implementing strategies to improve the airline’s public image and increase its revenues to levels not witnessed during the past few decades.
The CJP asked how could an in-service Pakistan Air Force officer be appointed as CEO of the national flag carrier. Justice Gulzar asked Malik to abide by the law and step down from any one of the two posts.
These remarks came during the hearing of a petition filed by the PIA chief seeking a stay order on the Sindh High Court’s decision, which stopped him from working as PIA chairman.
The CJP’s observation was based on a report submitted by the Additional Attorney General, which deemed his appointment as PIA chief illegal and against the rules.
If media reports are to be believed, Aslam R Khan, the former Managing Director of the national airline, is the favorite candidate for the post.
There are reports that the Air Marshal might have to step down as CEO PIA, or be disqualified from the post. All eyes will be on the Supreme Court when it resumes the hearing of the case on March 11.