Karachi: Pakistan International Airlines PIA even today is economically viable and could be run on profit it the culture of corruption and political interference is ended says Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Employees Union PIACE.
PIACE secretary general Ubaidullah addressing a meeting of workers here said those calling PIA a ‘white elephant’ should remember that the PIA during last 10 years have not received any economic bailout from the government, but instead paid a tax of Rs45billion during last six years.
He said to run a VIP flight for rulers, the PIA has to incur a loss of millions of rupees. He said PIA also incurs huge losses by giving free air tickets to bureaucrats, personnel of agencies, and players. He said not only Pakistan but 146 countries of the world are running their national flag carrier airlines. He said Japan recently gave $27bn bailout package to their national airline. The Air India, Air France and British Airways are running in the patronage of their respective governments.
He said the PIA is not an ordinary airline, but the mother of 32 other airlines of the world. PIA ensured planning, organization and training of these international airlines, he said, adding if today the PIA is running in loss it is not due to lack of professional and competent people, but due to incompetent, corrupt political elements who are made bosses of this airline on political basis and who loot and plunder this national airlines and make is a free grazing land for their relatives, friends and party workers. He said an independent commission should be formed to make these present and past corrupt elements accountable and auction their properties to make the losses of PIA good.
He said the PIA workers would not allow the privatization of PIA as it would tantamount to punish it 19300 employees for the wrongdoing of a handful of corrupt elements. He said instead these corrupt elements should be exposed and punished and the looted money recovered from them. He demanded of Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif to withdraw the decision of privatization and instead constitute a judicial commission to punish the looters and plunderers of PIA and made proper recoveries from them to offset the PIA losses. He said the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan should be implemented and an honest and competent professional made PIA chairman.
He said the workers could not be fooled in the name of public-private partnership by making 26percent shares public. He reminded that the workers of Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation PTCL were also fleeced the same way by making 26percent shares public in the name of public-private partnership. He said the PIA workers would fight back the International Monetary Fund IMF dictated policies of privatization and if needed the workers of PIA, Pakistan Railways and Pakistan Steel would launch a joint ‘Save Jobs Struggle’ in this regard.