Complete restructuring of PIA started: Mehtab

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PIA AP-BLC A320

PIA Captain Shahzad Aziz will be suspended, Adviser assures Senate Special Committee

Muhammad Arshad

Islamabad

Senate Special Committee on performance of PIA, Thursday, expressed serious apprehensions about the system of accountability in the administration of the national flag carrier after it was informed that the Captain involved in violating the rules and inviting a Chinese passenger in the Cockpit on 6th May in PK-853 has flight not been suspended yet.
The meeting was held with Senator Mushahidullah Khan as its convener here at the Parliament House on Thursday. The meeting was told that the captain has been grounded and deployed with the Karachi office but has not been suspended. It was also informed that the same pilot flew the flight again from Beijing to Islamabad despite being already grounded and has previously also been involved in harassment inquiries and fake degree cases.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation affairs Sardar Mehtab Abbasi assured the committee that the pilot will be suspended on Thursday and the suspension orders will be communicated with the convener and members of the special committee.
Conceding lack of discipline and accountability in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the past Mehtab Abbasi said that process had already been started for complete restructuring of the national flag carrier.
The committee also discussed the matter of Captain Amir Hashmi who was reportedly sleeping during flight for more than one hour in PK-785 on 26 April this year and the matter of heroine found in the PIA aircraft at Heathrow airport a few days back.
Regarding the recommendations of sub-committee of this special committee, the committee and the adviser found themselves at odds on the subject whether the recommendations of Parliamentary sub-committee are binding on PIA or not. The sub-committee members after having 15-20 long sittings with all stakeholders in Karachi and Islamabad had compiled a detailed report which was later laid in Senate sitting.
The committee sought the implementation status of recommendations made in the report but the Adviser was of the view that PIACL is now a company and is not under direct control of the government, hence making the recommendations binding might affect its functioning according to the new business model. The Committee members, however, were of the view that the government still holds 91% of shares of the company and hence it requires parliamentary oversight.
APP adds: Regarding sleeping of the pilot, the committee was informed that Captain Amir Hashmi had been grounded immediately. The committee expressed dismay over slow pace of inquiry into the matter. About Chinese lady passenger in the cockpit, the committee was apprised that Pilot Shahzed Aziz had also been grounded, besides transferring him to Karachi.
Responding to a query, the committee was apprised that the pilot was also facing an active case of fake degree against him, but he had obtained stay order from the Sindh High Court. Mehtab Abbasi said standard operating procedures were being immediately amended to stop recurrence of such incidents. He also ordered an immediate suspension of the pilot.
Farhatullah Babar said the House had already adopted the report of the sub-committee and now implementation of the recommendations were binding upon the management. He said the management had to present compliance report to the committee otherwise it would be tantamount to undermine the Parliament.