There should be absolutely no extensions on contract for PIA pilots who have reached national age for superannuation
SUKKUR: This is apropos the recent strike by PIA pilots. The problem is that PIA employees are not following rules because they are working in a statutory state-owned corporation, established to cater to the needs of the travelling public and not to serve either employees or the vested interests of the airline’s management. When the government of Pakistan provides sovereign guarantees for loans that fund the procurement of aircraft and spare parts as well as to bridge massive pilferage in revenues, then it is the taxpayers’ right to ask the management to ensure transparency, abide by rules, ensure that merit prevails and that those who have submitted fake degrees are not appointed as Hajj coordinators, nor sent on foreign postings. Has PIA punished the officers responsible for the 20 million pound fine imposed by the High Court in London for the violation of a wrongfully negotiated agreement with select travel agents, creating cartels and overcharging clients? PIA should have terminated the services of fake degree-holders, instead of conniving to prolong their employment and appointing those accused on executive assignments.
Since there is no shortage of pilots in PIA, there should be absolutely no extensions on contract for those who have reached the national age for superannuation, which each country establishes based on average life expectancy and quality of existing medical facilities. Demands for salary hikes by pilots and unacceptable flight duty limitations of 10 hours in an age when airlines spend billions to buy expensive aircraft for long range flights are ridiculous and should never have been accepted. Similarly, the government of Pakistan and the Aviation Division are expected to ensure that executives with blatant conflicts of interest, such as owning travel agencies or companies involved in procurement, or serving as sales agents of aircraft manufacturers are not employed in the national airline. PIA must either be run as a service-oriented industry, or shut down and re-established as an airline where strict discipline is enforced and the most qualified are retained with no room for political interference, and zero tolerance for those involved in smuggling, money laundering and other irregularities.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2015.
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