PAC meeting: US refuses to pay Pakistan for breach of airspace

Published: December 21, 2012

Defence secretary says Washington claims military aircraft are exempt from charges.

ISLAMABAD: 

The US has refused to compensate Pakistan for breach of the country’s airspace by its military aircraft, according to Defense Secretary Lt Gen (retd) Asif Yaseen Malik.

During a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday, Malik said the US refused to pay Rs72.4 million it owed to Pakistan, maintaining that military aircraft belonged to the state and were, as such, exempted from airspace navigation charges as per international norms. He added that Washington similarly did not charge Pakistan’s C-130 aircraft for using US airspace on several occasions.

The director general (DG) audit works also informed the meeting that the US Air Force (USAF) and certain other airlines were not paying operational and licence dues for the 2003-2004 period to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Talking to The Express Tribune, defence analyst Air Commodore (retd) Sajjad Haider said that foreign forces’ aircraft are not charged for using a country’s airspace only when a mission has been mutually agreed upon, such as joint air exercises. In this case, however, the USAF must pay for using Pakistani airspace since Islamabad did not authorise their operations, he added.

According to auditors, following a Departmental Accounts Committee (DAC) meeting in May this year, CAA was directed to take up USAF’s unpaid dues with the finance ministry. Later in July, PAC also asked the defence secretary to pursue the matter through the foreign office and invoke the bilateral agreement for recovering the outstanding dues.

So far, there has been no development in the matter, according to the DG audit. The PAC downplayed the issue in Wednesday’s meeting and asked the DG audit to ‘move on’.

Disposal of PIA aircraft

Meanwhile, auditors also questioned a six-year-old deal for the disposal of Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) Airbus A300-B4 aircraft.

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“The deal gives undue benefits to the buyer, Turkish Airlines,” said Tanvir Bukhari, the Additional Auditor General of Pakistan. The deal, in its original incarnation, stipulated that PIA hand over the aircraft in their then existing condition. However, PIA restored the aircraft’s airworthiness before handing them to Turkish Airlines, Bukhari added.

The commercial audit and evaluation DG also questioned the aircraft’s replacement in the PIA fleet. He said the Airbus A300-B4 aircraft were disposed of on account of being 25-years-old, but the Airbus A310 aircraft the airline purchased as their replacement were 12 to 15 years old as well.

Despite repeated questions by PAC member Yasmeen Rehman, both PIA officials and the defence secretary failed to share the actual prices the A300-B4 aircraft were sold at and the A310s were leased for.

The PAC referred its objections back to the DAC for verification of facts.

Other decisions

The PAC also ordered all perks available to former PIA managing directors be withdrawn. The committee also directed the defence ministry to recover billions of rupees wasted in the misuse of land allotted to the military for defence purposes.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2012. 

Reader Comments (6)

  • Dec 21, 2012 - 10:58AM

    Drones “violate” airspace all the time, apparently without permission. Why should the US pay now? The precedence has been set.

    Besides, US spent Billion in hunting Osama and Pakistan was protecting him. Will Pakistan compensate US for that?Recommend

  • Dec 21, 2012 - 11:27AM

    @BruteForce:
    Drones take off from Afghanistan and fire from Afghan airspace.

    Recommend

  • Shayan
    Dec 21, 2012 - 1:53PM

    @BruteForce? Do you have any proof for Pakistan was hiding him? You cant find the taliban in the afghanistan you control for all your satellites and airborne monitoring.

    If the US started to pay for the innocent people it has killed it would need more that just a tax increase to pay for the deficit. Even hiroshima and nagasaki woud be enough to make Fort Knox empty.

    Recommend

  • Dec 21, 2012 - 5:28PM

    @Pakistani1414918:

    Incorrect. You have to be above the target area to take aim. Check the specs of Predator missiles.Recommend

  • Dec 21, 2012 - 5:35PM

    @Shayan:

    “Do you have any proof for Pakistan was hiding him? “

    If the stolen object is found in the pockets the thief, its ludicrous if he asks others to prove his crime.

    Osama was found not even a mile from where the Pakistani Military Academy is situated, a heavily militarised town and was living in a big mansion!!

    “You cant find the taliban in the afghanistan you control for all your satellites and airborne monitoring.”

    Why should they? The TTP who are hiding in Afghanistan is not harming the Americans. Isn’t it the same reason Pakistan doesn’t attack North Waziristan, where the Haqqanis are hiding?

    If Pakistan doesn’t take of Haqqanis, why should American target the Taliban that is harming Pakistan?

    “If the US started to pay for the innocent people it has killed it would need more that just a tax increase to pay for the deficit. “

    WHAT? That makes zero sense.

    Why would US pay Pakistani victims, when Pakistani Military itself has allowed the Drone strikes? Pak Military has the ability to shoot the Drones down and most likely it has made a deal with the US. Ask your Pakistani military to pay the victims of Drone attacks, which, by the way, will not happen if there are no Terrorists in the tribal areas.

    Recommend

  • bangash
    Dec 23, 2012 - 8:30AM

    If the US pays, the money is going straight into the pocket of Defense Secretary anyway.

    Recommend

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