General

CJP orders to place all PIA MDs from 2008-18 on Exit Control List

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar ordered on Thursday to place the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) managing directors who served from 2008 to 2018 on the Exit Control List (ECL).
The orders came as the Supreme Court heard the suo motu case into the national flag carrier’s reported privatisation and audit.
During the hearing, the chief justice remarked that they are making a commission so the matter of PIA’s losses and alleged privatisation can be investigated.
Referring to the airline’s previous bosses, some of whom were present in court, he remarked that “you all destroyed such a large asset…this is an injustice. Those who destroyed PIA are enemies and traitors”.
Chief Justice Nisar also ordered the production of the MDs in whose tenure the most losses occurred.
As the hearing began, the PIA’s counsel presented a 9-year audit record and informed in response to a query that the organisation’s share is being sold at Rs5 at present.
The apex court also sought a reply from the federal government on the privatisation of the airline and summoned the attorney general.
During the hearing, the PIA counsel informed the court that the airline suffered a loss of Rs44 billion in 2013, Rs37 billion in 2014, Rs32 billion in 2015, Rs45 billion in 2016 and Rs44 billion in 2017.
On April 6, Chief Justice Nisar summoned former PIA MDs along with an audit report of the national flag carrier.
According to a Radio Pakistan report on April 1, the Supreme Court took notice of PIA’s decision to give up profitable routes to other airlines and the intended privatisation of the airline.
The court had also reportedly directed that no fresh recruitment shall be made in the PIA.
The loss-making national airline has accumulated vast debt over several years owing to official mismanagement.
The present government earlier attempted to privatise part of the airline, including its management, but the plans were put on the backburner after opposition from other political parties and the airline’s staff.
According to a Reuters report, PIA was among 68 state-owned companies earmarked for privatisation in return for a $6.7 billion International Monetary Fund package that helped the government stave off a default in 2013, when it came to power.
Despite some initial success, the process stalled in 2016 after staff protests caused havoc with PIA operations and the government passed a law that effectively made it impossible to privatise the airline.