News Desk |
In an attempt to put the rumor to rest that Pakistan International Airline (PIA) wanted to shift the airline’s head office from Karachi to Islamabad, PIA said on Monday that the transfer of its employees to Islamabad did not mean transferring the airline’s head office.
While putting the rumor to rest, the media reported, the PIA management clarified that the national carrier was not “transferring” its headquarters but it had plans to make the new Islamabad International Airport as the “airline’s hub”.
Rehman had said the minister has also skipped the meetings of aviation committee where the issues surrounding the move were raised.
“The PIA is not shifting its head office but moving fast to implement and achieve economic viability as envisaged in the airline’s business plan,” Dawn quoted a PIA spokesman as saying.
On transfers, PIA officials said that pilots, cabin crews, engineers and dozens of other staffs working at the PIA head office and settled in the provincial metropolis for decades have been transferring to Islamabad.
They said that the management was reorganizing its human resources to utilize them more efficiently, adding that employees have been repositioned to different stations throughout Pakistan. Also, they said, transferring employees to the capital and other stations was in line with the workload and future prospects.
Senate adopts resolution against relocation of PIA’s head office
In May, it was reported that the Senate had adopted a resolution opposing the government’s move to relocate the national flag-carrier head office from Karachi to Islamabad despite the government and its allies’ stance against the resolution.
The reports further said that the decision was reportedly taken during a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.
Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan had opposed the resolution calling for the retention of PIA headquarters in Karachi after initially saying that there was no such plan. However, the resolution was passed by a majority vote.
Since its inception in 1955, PIA’s headquarters had always been based in Karachi. However, since January 2019, it has been reported that the federal government has decided to move PIA head office from Karachi to the capital. The reports further said that the decision was reportedly taken during a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.
The primary reason for moving the PIA head office to the capital was the Aviation Division being in Islamabad. The meeting in January had also decided to formulate a new aviation policy focused on achieving profitability for PIA, adding that the final recommendations over the shifting of the office would be presented in late July 2019.
Sherry Rehman wonders why PTI opposed resolution
While speaking on the floor of the House, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) parliamentary leader Sherry Rehman had wondered why the government opposed the resolution if it did not have any such plan to shift the PIA headquarters.
The primary reason for moving the PIA head office to the capital was the Aviation Division being in Islamabad.
Rehman had said that the federal minister denied the move but in the same breath argued that PIA representatives face difficulties in attending parliamentary committee meetings. “Has this not always been the case? The government should give a definitive statement about the motives behind the move. Lastly, why is this entire process being kept so secretive? It is unfortunate that we are forced to ask this question.”
Rehman had said the minister has also skipped the meetings of aviation committee where the issues surrounding the move were raised. She had revealed that the minister was absent for a third time to clarify the position.
The PPP leader along with 42 lawmakers of the opposition parties had moved the resolution against the shifting of PIA headquarters saying: “there’s a general view that the government is trying to centralize every service, authority, and just about any activity or resource to Islamabad.”
In her speech, the media reported, she said the Jinnah International Airport happened to be Pakistan’s biggest airport and would remain so. “Let me tell you, the traffic in Islamabad has not increased to the extent that it has in Karachi. This is because Karachi is the commercial hub of Pakistan. There are various examples to support that airline headquarters are based in the country’s commercial hub,” she was quoted as saying.