Islamabad: European Union’s decision to retain its ban on PIA operations in its member countries is another blow to our national airline and is a clear vote of no confidence in two years of gross mismanagement and neglect by the PTI government, said Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman.
“It is rather shocking that despite the previous suspension, conditions laid down in ART 205(c)(2) of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations were not met by CAA and it appears that now the only way this ban can be lifted is by the Pakistani aviation regulatory body clearing a new safety audit. What is questionable is the government inaction and flat refusal to take responsibility for landing an already troubled airline in such international disgrace! Nobody takes responsibility for this combination of criminal negligence and indifference to the squandering of our national assets” she questioned.
Rehman said, “It’s not only EASA but the US and UK authorities who have also banned PIA. The national airline is facing a loss of millions along with being disgraced internationally. It has lost its coveted international routes and clearances, while a coterie of cannibalising corporate raiders looks like it’s actively colluding to shut the airline down. The government should take this EU ban as a reminder that despite being banned internationally, PIA is still flying domestically, and questions will be asked about what it is doing to guarantee the safety of and lives of domestic passengers who have little option but to fly PIA.”
Talking about the fake license issue, the Senator said, “The Aviation Minister had claimed that there were 262 fake licences but recently Secretary Aviation told IHC that only 28 licences were fraudulent. Why then was the airline made to crash by its own minister? Why are Pakistani pilots paying the price all over the world with having their license brought under a cloud of suspicion, while they lose their jobs and credibly in other airlines? We are still facing the aftermath of such reckless statements, but no one is made answerable in Madina ki Riasat. In any other government many heads would have rolled, but here there is total indifference to public safety, parliamentary caution or moral obligation to be answerable to the people”.
Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman concluded by saying, “The entire Licencegate issue tells us that the public is on its own, that questions in Parliament mean nothing, or beget only tirades, and that the revival of PIA is part of the many false promises made to Pakistan by Tabahi Sarkar. In any other country or government, those responsible would have been taken to task and would not be allowed to cover up their egregious misdemeanours. We still must insist on an investigation as to why EASA conditions were not met. National institutions cannot be stripped of their worth and standing while cronies sit smugly and carry on. It seems that the PTI thinks politics is only about maintaining a daily narrative of abuse against the opposition, and not to serve even notionally, the people of Pakistan, who have not been allowed to hold anyone accountable for the dismantling of not just their national airline but hundreds and thousands of jobs and reputations”.