Opp, ruling senators exchange heated debate


Efforts underway to make PIA profitable entity: Saad

Ijaz Kakakhel

The main opposition party in Senate (PTI) and government senators on Friday came hard against each other and leader of opposition in Senate claimed that there was no law for influential people while the poor were suffering.

The heated debate began when Senator Dilawar Khan of PTI raised the question of tobacco business related issues and demanded of chairman Senate to constitute a committee to probe the matter properly. He claimed that injustices were carried out with KP tobacco growers for the sole purpose to please some multinational companies of tobacco industry. Several check posts were established to check the movement of tobacco in KP and other parts of the country.

Leader of Opposition in Senate Shehzad Waseem said that small provinces have multiple issues with center but the federal government never tries to address these issues.

Responding to the points of Leader of the Opposition Shahzad Waseem, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar said the government is holding discussions with the farmers to address their concerns. He said their matter will also be taken up in the cabinet.

The Law Minister said Islamabad High Court has delivered justice in Maryam Nawaz case. He said the judiciary is independent and takes decisions in an independent manner.

The Senate also passed three bills. These included the Publication of Laws of Pakistan Amendment Bill 2022, the Export Import Bank of Pakistan Bill and the Diplomatic and Consular Officers (oath and fees) Amendment Bill.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique informed Senate that a strategic business plan has been prepared to enhance revenues of Pakistan International Airlines.

Responding to the questions of Senators during question hour in Upper House of Parliament, he stressed political stability and continuity in policies to achieve the long-term goals. He said reform process was continuing in PIA and change would be visible within a next few months.

He said the uncomfortable seats of various aircraft were being replaced to facilitate passengers. Route rationalization exercise has been conducted under which profitable routes were being added. Since May, 2022 the induction of four A-320 narrow body aircraft along with A-320 flight simulator was underway.

These new aircraft would add to the revenue generation on new/ profitable routes. Similarly, in-country availability of simulator would substantially reduce the cost incurred on training of the pilots from abroad.

On August 1, 2022, one 777 aircraft grounded for nearly eight months has been made operational. Similarly, work on one A-320 and 777 aircraft was underway for recovery during one month. He said the irresponsible statement of former Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan about pilots has inflicted Rs35 billion to Rs40 billion losses to national flag carrier.

He said efforts were underway to resume our flights to the United Kingdom and European countries to generate reasonable revenue to the PIA. The minister said the government was also considering to outsource airports, especially Islamabad International Airport, to operate them as per the international standard.


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