Govt making efforts to transform PIA: PM Imran

Published: August 27, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said the government is making efforts to transform the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) into an efficient and profit-making entity because it is the national flag carrier and symbol of the country abroad.

“Once a profit generating airline and a leading institution in the regional aviation sector, the PIA was pushed into troubles due to the mismanagement and neglect of the past,” Imran said while chairing a meeting called to review efforts to modernize the PIA, said the PM Office in a press release.

The meeting was attended by Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar, Adviser on Finance Hafeez Shaikh, Secretary Aviation Division Shah Rukh Nusrat, Secretary Finance Naveed Kamran, PIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Arshad Malik, representatives of airplane manufacturing companies and senior officials.

Comprehensive discussions were held on the induction of new and modern planes in the present PIA fleet, provision of better facilities to the passengers, and capacity enhancement of the organisation with a view of future requirements.

The PIA CEO said due to untiring efforts of the current management of the PIA, the airline’s losses were reducing continuously. “The country has enough air transport potential which is set to increase more than two-fold in the next two decades,” he added.

The PM was told that after developing the PIA along modern lines, its profit would witness a surge, giving boost to the business and tourism activities in the country.

The meeting was told that Increase in population, the number of expatriates and gradual improvement in economy are the factors conducive to the promotion of aviation industry.

The prime minister was also briefed about the new models of airplanes.

Regularization on employees

The Power Division on Tuesday withdrew a summary presented before the federal cabinet for regularisation of contractual employees of power distribution companies (Discos) after PM Imran Khan noted that the power ministry could take a decision in this regard without cabinet’s approval.

According to sources, during the federal cabinet meeting the Power Division presented a summary, seeking permanent employment for contractual employees of Discos.

However, some cabinet member objected to the move and if contractual employees of one ministry were regularized then such employees of other ministries should also be given permanent jobs.

However, Ministry of Energy Secretary Irfan Ali said this decision will not have any financial effect on the ministry or the federal government in general.  “The distribution companies have their own budgets and they will bear the financial burden of the regularisation,” he added.

The premier noted that if matter is related to Discos then its approval by the cabinet is not needed. “The ministry can decide on its own whether it wants to regularise these contract employees,” he said. Ministry of Energy later withdrew its summary presented in the cabinet.

Minister of Railways Sheikh Rashid also raised the matter of making 35,000 daily wages employee permanent. The premier said the Railways Ministry can also regularize its employees on own as it will be responsible to bear the financial burden of this decision.

Thousands of employees will benefit from these regularisations.

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