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Senate special body discusses narcotics, other issues

Senate special body discusses narcotics, other issues


ISLAMABAD: The Senate Special Committee on Performance of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has expressed serious apprehensions over the system of accountability in the administration of the national flag carrier, after it was informed that the captain involved in violating the rules and inviting a Chinese passenger to the cockpit on May 6 in flight number PK-853 has not been suspended yet.

The meeting was held with Senator Mushahidullah Khan as its convener here on Thursday. The meeting was informed that the captain has been grounded and deployed with the Karachi office but has not been suspended.

The PIA official revealed that the same pilot flew the flight again from Beijing to Islamabad despite being grounded already and has previously also been involved in woman harassment inquiries and fake degree cases.

Mushahidullah said that according to his information, the Chinese woman remained in the cockpit during the whole flight. The pilot has not been suspended but grounded. “What were they doing in the cockpit? When the airplane landed what the Chinese woman was doing in the cockpit?” he questioned. The pilot was afraid of the video but not of what he was doing, said the convener.

When the airplane landed, the pilot came to know that someone is making a video of him, said the PIA official.

Sherry Rehman said the pilot is also facing a fake degree case. Crew members were complaining against this pilot, she added.

The pilot has taken stay order from the Sindh High Court, the PIA official added.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation Affairs Sardar Mehtab Abbasi assured the committee that PIA Captain Shahzad Aziz will be suspended that day (Thursday) and the suspension orders will be communicated to the convener and members of the special committee.

The committee also discussed the matter of Captain Amir Hashmi, who was reportedly sleeping during flight for more than one hour in PK-785 on 26 April as well as the matter of heroin purportedly found in the PIA aircraft at Heathrow airport a few days back.

The committee members said that heroin smuggling allegation is a serious matter. “If customs staff is involved in heroin smuggling, how they can check passengers,” said Naeema Kishwar.

Mushahidullah asked for how long the pilot slept. The chief executive officer PIA said that a show cause notice has been issued to the pilot. The concerned pilot is no more flying the airplane. Crew members of the airplane have been questioned. The pilot slept for half an hour to one hour. Mushahidullah said that according to his information the pilot slept for two-and-a-half hours.

Regarding the recommendations of sub-committee of this special committee, the committee and the adviser found themselves at odds on the subject whether or not the recommendations of parliamentary sub-committee are binding on PIA.

The sub-committee members after having 15-20 long sittings with all stakeholders in Karachi and Islamabad had compiled a detailed report which was later laid in the Senate. The committee sought the implementation status of different recommendations made in the report but the adviser was of the view that PIACL is now a company and is not under direct control of the government; hence making the recommendations binding might affect its functioning according to new business model.

The committee members, however, were of the view that the government still holds 91% shares of the newly transformed company and hence it requires parliamentary oversight. The matter will be discussed with chairman Senate and the status of recommendations will be decided afterwards.

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