Home Global Village Not so fast: SC stops government from selling off PIA

Not so fast: SC stops government from selling off PIA

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The Supreme Court on 12th April barred the government from its bid towards privatizing Pakistan International Airlines and ordered to construe a commission to probe the causes of its Rs 360.39 billion losses and handing over of profitable routes to other airlines in recent years.

The Supreme Court also appointed economic analyst Dr. Farrukh Saleem as amicus curiae (impartial adviser to court) and gave him two weeks to set the terms of references (ToRs) for the proposed commission.

The SC also ruled that no decision regarding privatization of the PIA could be made without taking it into confidence. The top court further directed the managing directors who served the PIA during last 10 years to furnish an undertaking that they would not leave the country until completion of the case. The top court, however, ruled departure of any of the MDs abroad would be subject to its permission.

The Supreme Court on 12th April barred the government from its bid towards privatising Pakistan International Airlines and ordered to construe a commission to probe the causes of its Rs 360.39 billion losses and handing over of profitable routes to other airlines in recent years.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar ordered to place the names of Pakistan International Airlines’s (PIA) managing directors (MD’s), who served from 2008 to 2018, on the Exit Control List (ECL), GVS earlier reported.

CJP condemned the PIA management and referring to its managing directors of last decade, he said, “You all destroyed such a large asset.This is gross injustice with the national carrier. Those [Management] who destroyed PIA are enemies and traitors.” A three-member bench Apex Court of Pakistan headed by the CJP Mian Saqib Nisar is hearing a Suo Moto case of national carrier regarding its privatization and audit.

Read more: CJP orders PIA MD’s to be placed on ECL

The directions were given after the top court’s three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan briefly heard the case regarding handing over of profitable routes of the Pakistan International Airlines to other airlines and its expected privatization.

In pursuance of the top court’s earlier order, all the persons who held the post of MD in last 10 years were present in the courtroom. Advocate Ahmed Rauf, who was representing PIA, submitted a balance sheet of last 10 years before the bench, in which it was revealed that the PIA suffered accumulated loss of Rs 360.39 billion since 2000 till date.

According to the balance sheet of PIA covering the last 10 years, the national flag carrier suffered loss of Rs 36.13 billion in 2008, Rs 4.94 billion in 2009, Rs 20.79 billion in 2010 and Rs 26.77 billion in 2011. The balance sheet further revealed that the national flag carrier suffered loss of Rs 30.59 billion in 2012, Rs 44.32 billion in 2013 and Rs 31.74 billion in 2014. Likewise, the national airline suffered loss of Rs 32.53 billion in 2015, Rs 45.38 billion in 2016 and Rs 44.11 billion in 2017.

The top court further directed the managing directors who served the PIA during last 10 years to furnish an undertaking that they would not leave the country until completion of the case. The top court, however, ruled departure of any of the MDs abroad would be subject to its permission.

The details regarding the management heads who served the PIA during last 10 years were also submitted to the bench. Zafar A Khan held the post of chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of PIA from April 2007 to February 2008, Aslam R Khan held the post of managing director (MD) from February 2008 to May 2008.

Read more: Privatization of PIA and PSM: significance for Pakistan

Likewise, Capt Muhammad Aijaz Haroon was MD from May 2008 to February 2011, Capt Nadeem Khan Yousafzai held this post from February 2011 to March 2012, Air Chief Marshal (r) Rao Qamar Suleman remained MD, chairman and CEO from March 2012 to September 2012, Capt Muhammad Junaid Yunus assumed the charge of MD in October 2012 and retained the office till July 2014, Shahnawaz Rehman held the post of MD from July 2014 to August 2015, Nasser NS Jaffer held the post of chairman and CEO from August 2015 to February 2016 and Aviation Secretary Muhammad Irfan Elahi acted as chairman for two months in 2016.

On the disclosure of losses in the national flag carrier, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, expressing his concern, warned that the court would not spare anyone while those responsible would have to bear the losses, adding nothing had been done to control losses despite the fact that the MDs were drawing salaries in millions of rupees.

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