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PIA Losses: SC orders Travel Ban for Ex-aviation Adviser Shujaat Azeem

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday ordered inclusion of former Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Aviation Shujaat Azeem’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL) after he was informed that the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) incurred 88 per cent of the total losses during the last 10 years.  

A bench, headed by the chief justice, was hearing a case pertaining to privatization of the national flag carrier and closure of its profit-earning routes.

At the start of hearing, CJP Nisar remarked that the court has received a report on forensic audit of the accounts of PIA and vowed not to let those responsible for the losses off the hook.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan and Shujaat Azeem appeared before the bench.

Economist Farrukh Saleem, who has been appointed as amicus curiae in the matter, gave a detailed briefing on the losses incurred by PIA over the past ten years.

He informed that the national entity so far has suffered the losses of Rs360 billion since 2008. PIA incurred the losses of Rs28 billion in 2001, Rs36 billion in 2008, Rs45 billion in 2016, and 44 billion in 2017.

He said 88 per cent of the losses were caused during the past ten years because of higher expenditures than the PIA’s income. He also blamed political meddling for turning PIA into a loss-making entity, saying recruitment in PIA had been made on political basis over the last 10 years.

After going through the audit report, the chief justice said the losses caused by PIA to the national exchequer stood at Rs73 billion in 2008 but soared to Rs360 billion within a decade.

The court was further informed that there are seven unions of PIA employees having affiliation with different political parties.

While reproaching the authorities concerned, the CJP said they would direct the people of the country to collect donations to divest PIA of financial bottleneck.

He directed the government functionaries to submit their response to the amicus curiae’s presentation within fifteen weeks.

Published here.