PIA desperate to take Sambara Hotel back from Sindh govt

National flag carrier wants to wrest charge of hotel which is under Sindh tourism dept’s control for 25 years

Waqas Ahmed July 17, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines has intensified efforts to wrest back control of a hotel in Larkana from the Sindh government, The Express Tribune has learnt.

In this regard, the national flag carrier's CEO Arshad Malik has raised the issue of the Sambara Inn Hotel at both the federal and provincial levels, said sources in the airline. On Monday, Malik informed the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation that the airline has decided to take administrative control of the hotel away from the Sindh tourism department and bring it back in the airline's hands.

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"The property rights of the Sambara Inn Hotel located in Larkana rest only with the PIA, which constructed it 45 years ago," the sources quoted Malik as telling the Senate panel.

The airline built the 46-room air-conditioned Sambara Inn Hotel on a five-acre stretch in Larkana in 1974. Roughly Rs9.8 million were spent on its construction, sources said.

It only remained under PIA control for five years, however. Then, in 1994, the government of prime minister Benazir Bhutto handed over administrative charge of the hotel to the Sindh tourism department. It has remained under the provincial government's control for 25 years since.

According to sources in PIA, the infrastructure of the Sambara Inn Hotel is continuously being damaged due to lack of attention from the provincial authorities running it. "The issue of the hotel has been raised with the Sindh government, but no reply has been received so far," PIA Spokesperson Mashood Khan Tajwar told The Express Tribune.

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Despite several attempts, The Express Tribune could not get in touch with the Department of Tourism Sindh Director General Roshan Ali.

According to rumours that emerged four years ago, the Sindh government may have at one point thought of selling the Sambara Inn Hotel to private builders at a throwaway price. According to a report that The Express Tribune ran in 2015, some sources suggested that someone close to an influential PPP leader was willing to buy the plot. Rumours suggested that the interested party were the Shaikhs of Larkana. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2019.


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