MINISTER for Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique has the guts and courage to call a spade a spade.
He stated in the Senate on Friday that PIA is annually facing a loss of forty to fifty billion rupees because of political appointments in the national flag carrier.
He described the interference of parliamentarians in the appointments as the main reason behind the fall of the airline which once was considered the pride of the nation and helped the fraternal UAE to make its mark in this field.
The issue of overstaffing and political appointments is not confined mere to PIA but several other state-owned enterprises including Pakistan Steel Mills have also borne the brunt of it.
The fact of the matter is that such appointees neither have the capability and capacity to deliver nor they show any intent to learn and work in a diligent manner.
This results in the fall of organizations. The death of merit has also shattered the confidence of our youths on the country’s system and that is why they, especially the capable ones, prefer serving abroad rather than at home.
In fact our state owned enterprises had not been faced with losses of billions of rupees today, had we promoted merit and not allowed the brain drain.
It is still time for our political parties to correct their course and instead of hording their workers and sympathizers in government departments should focus on promoting merit-based appointments.
The previous government had introduced voluntary separation scheme in PIA to do away with the additional staff.
This scheme should be taken forward and timely payments need to be ensured to encourage the employees opt for it.
This will reduce the cost of the airline and the resources then can be diverted to provide better services to the passengers. It is only through better services, the PIA can attract passengers and enhance its revenue.
Efforts also need to be accelerated to revive PIA operations in the UK, Europe and the United States which were shut following an irresponsible statement of former Aviation Minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, about our pilots.