Senate Standing Committee on Aviation grills PIA

PIA scrutinized over pilot licences, flights from Balochistan, recruitment, fake degrees, and pensions owed to widows 

The Senate Standing Committee on Aviation convened a heated meeting on Thursday at Parliament House to tackle various issues pertaining to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Profit reached out to Abdullah H. Khan, PIA’s head of marketing and corporate communications, and Saifullah Khan, the official spokesperson for Pakistan’s CAA, for comment. However, no comment from either of the two could be obtained. 

Pilot licences

It endorsed the report of a sub-committee that resolved the issue of pilot licences, raised by the former aviation minister last year. The members castigated the former minister’s claim of ‘fake pilots’ and said it besmirched PIA’s and the country’s reputation globally. They suggested that CAA should handle the matter according to its rules without FIA and court.

Flights from Balochistan

Furthermore, the panel scrutinized the details of flights cancelled from all airports of Balochistan in the last two months. PIA officials apprised them that 49 flights were delayed in April and 9 in June due to financial and crew constraints. They assured them that the flights would resume after the Hajj operation. 

Moreover, they recommended PIA to devise a feasible flight plan for Balochistan and invited private airlines in the next meeting. They expressed their desire to assist Balochistan’s people and provide better air connectivity. They hoped for private airlines’ cooperation.

Recruitment of employees

In addition to that, they deliberated on the recent Supreme Court decision that permitted PIA to recruit 205 skilled employees, including cabin crew, IT professionals and 80 pilots, on a one-year contract basis. PIA officials expressed concern that there was no legal binding to deter pilots from joining other airlines after contract expiry, resulting in PIA’s investment loss. They lamented investing millions on training pilots who might fly away after one year. 

Consequently, they directed PIA to share the court decision in the next meeting. They said they would review it and see if they could aid PIA.

Fake degrees

Additionally, they voiced dissatisfaction on employees’ details submitted by PIA and asked for comprehensive information with experience and present posting in the next meeting.

They also took up PIA employees appointed on fake degrees. FIA officials told them they submitted challans in 15 cases against 260 nominated employees, but a special committee directed them to withdraw cases. The chairman, Senator Hidayatullah, said employees with fake degrees should not be spared and their recommendations enforced. He said they could not compromise on merit and quality. He asserted employees with fake degrees should be terminated immediately. 

Pension of widows

Finally, they enquired about active pensioners drawing pension from PIA and pension given to widows of employees. PIA officials said 15,000 employees drew pension, out of which 5,000 were widows paid 2 to 3,000 rupees monthly.

They recommended the pension of widows increased from 2 to 5,000 rupees as the current amount is inadequate for livelihood. They expressed empathy with widows who served PIA for years. They said they deserved a respectable pension for survival. They urged PIA to increase the pension soon.

Talking shop, or anything concrete?

“It’s absolutely ludicrous! Things never change in Pakistan,” exclaimed Tahir Imran Mian, a senior journalist. “This is the same old rigmarole I’ve been witnessing for ages.”

Mian continued, “These so-called Committees in the National Assembly or Senate on aviation are utterly ineffectual organisations and setups. They serve no purpose other than squandering taxpayer money and resources. They’re also routinely populated with the same bipartisan individuals.”

Mian further elaborated, “This meeting has zero relevance to airlines or aviation. Not a single productive point was raised by the Committee during the meeting.” He concluded, “I would have expected Senator Afnan Ullah to have brought up more judicious matters given his longstanding association with PIA.”

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Daniyal Ahmad
Daniyal Ahmad
The author is a member of the staff, and covers the automobile, energy and advertising insdusties as a sector analyst. He can be reached at [email protected]


  1. AOA Good enlightened information.I wd suggest the Qaimaa Committee take cognizance of the prevalent living conditions and the day to day rise in daily use commodities.Rgds


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