ISLAMABAD: Senate’s Special Committee on PIA’s performance constituted a sub-committee on Thursday to probe the sale of PIA Airbus A-310 to a German firm in violation of PPRA rules.
The sub-committee will comprise Senators Farhatullah Babar, Tahir Hussain Mashhadi and Nauman Wazir Khattak and will probe Air Commodore Imran Akhter’s role in it among all others involved in the scandal.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah at the Parliament House. The advisor to PM on civil aviation told the meeting that FIA and NAB are already probing the matter and their inquiries are underway.
To this the committee directed the sub-committee to also take input from the two bodies about their progress on the matter.
During the meeting, the senators expressed surprise over the fact that the plane was abandoned and PIA had paid huge amounts as parking fee. The members were also apprehensive that eight months had passed and there was no proper reply as to why and how the sale agreement was carried out.
Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak observed that if the plane was sold as scrap, 16 million rupees could have been earned while in this agreement the frame was sold out for just 7.3 million rupees.
Senator Farhatullah Babar said, “The inquiry conducted by Civil Aviation Authority states that the summary for sale was initiated by Air Commodore Imran Mukhtar while he had told the committee that he is not aware of this process.”
Secretary CAA when asked about any such sale agreements from the past told the meeting that in 2014-15 C-10 aircraft were sold to the highest bidders after auction.
To this, Senator Saleem Mandviwala asked, “Why this process was not followed in the current case and also questioned the involvement of the German CEO.”
Meanwhile, the committee while discussing other agenda items before the meeting also recommended having more flight operations between Islamabad and Quetta.
To a question about the national air carrier’s decision to close direct flights from Islamabad to New York, the adviser told the meeting that due to heavy losses PIA had decided to carry on with only those flight operations that were commercially viable.
The adviser also told the meeting that the new deadline for completion of the upgrading work at Quetta airport has been set to 15 July 2018. He said that work had slowed over the last one year but it is being expedited.
The committee was also told that PIA is going through serious financial crisis and increase in pensions of employees was not possible.
Meanwhile, the committee also expressed anguish over the non-compliance of the sub-committee’s recommendations after more than five months regarding structural changes required in PIA. The committee chairperson noted that as on oversight committee it is their right to have constructive criticism on the national flag carrier that is literally collapsing.
The meeting was attended by Senators Sherry Rehman, Nuzhat Sadiq, Usman Kakar, Tahir Mashhadi, Taj Afridi, Ashok Kumar, Nauman Wazir, Farhatullah Babar, Azam Swati, Advisor to Prime Minister on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi, Secretary CAA and CEO PIA among others.