PIA to operate on commercially viable routes only: Senate body informed

287

ISLAMABAD, Oct 26 (APP):Adviser to the Prime Minister on Aviation Division

Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Abbasi Thursday informed the Senate Special Committee on
Performance of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) that the national
flag-carrier would operate on commercially viable routes only.
“The PIA has decided in principle that it would operate
on commercially viable routes only to minimize financial loses and make the
organization a profit earning entity,” he said in the committee meeting,
chaired by Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah.
He admitted that PIA’s performance was not up to the
mark, for which the current management was not responsible as it inherited several
issues from the past regimes over the years.
The adviser said PIA was being strengthened by
inducting more aircraft in the fleet and improving its services, requesting the
parliamentarians “to do criticism on PIA performance, but avoid passing
negative remarks as these affect its business, credit and reputation.”
Committee member Mushahid Ullah Khan said the PIA
fleet was consisted of 16 aircraft only when the present government came into
power in 2013, while now its 37 planes were operating for different local and
foreign destinations, out of which four were with engineering department for
necessary maintenance.
Committee Chairman Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah expressed
anger over non-submission of required information by the PIA management even
after a period of eight months.
He constituted a sub-committee, comprising
Farhatullah Babar, Col ® Tahir Hussain Mashhadi and Numan Wazir, to probe the alleged
sale of PIA Airbus A-310 to a German firm in violation Public Procurement
Regulatory Authority rules, which would submit its report in a period of two
months, fixing responsibility.
Representatives of Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF)
apprised the committee that a narcotics supplier namely Jannat Gul had been
arrested from Karachi, who allegedly was a ‘main source’ of transporting a huge
quantity of Heroin seized from a PIA plane at Heathrow Airport, London on May
15.
“The accused is used to supply narcotics from Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa to Karachi and recovered 8.5 kilogram drugs from him when he was
arrested,” they said.
Currently, they said the accused was on a judicial
remand and had disclosed names of his two accomplices, while further
investigation was underway.
They said the ANF had arrested PIA 17 employees in
the case and trying to unearth the gang, if involved any.
On a query of the Committee Chairman, the ANF
officials said National Crime Agency of UK, which seized the 11kg heroin from kitchen
cabinet of the PIA plane, did not share any information or outcome of its
inquiry with Pakistan.
Syed Muzaffar asked the official to submit a detail
report about modus operandi adopted by smugglers to use PIA planes for drug
trafficking.
They body directed the PIA management to improve
quality of food items and other services provided to passengers during travel
in flights.
Adviser to the PM on Aviation Sardar Mehtab said 59
percent work on the Quetta airport expansion project had been completed and
efforts were being made to complete the project at the earliest.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Senators Mushahid
Ullah Khan,
Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar,
Dr Ashok Kumar, Taj Muhammad Afridi, FArhatullah Babar , Sherry Rehman, Col.
Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Nauman Wazir Khattak, Saleem Mandviwalla, Nuzhat
Sadiq and Azam Swati, besides Secretary Aviation Division, CEO of PIACL and
other senior officials.