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Event Title: Senate Standing Committee on Aviation

Event Date: 2019-10-23

Senate Standing Committee on Aviation in its meeting has observed that the review committee of PIAC should maintain a uniform criteria to deal with the cases of fake degrees of PIA employees and action should be simultaneously taken against those officers and board members who appointed people with fake degrees. The committee also observed that the earlier directions were not to give strongest punishment of termination but give lighter punishments to empires who have had longer services. The committee was told by head of the review committee that the cases of fake degrees were divided in three categories and out of the 650 cases 15 were called for physical appearance before the committee and documents of 300 people were reviewed by the committee. The committee chairman remarked that there are still at least 12 People still working in PIA  on fake degrees of similar nature.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Mushahidullah Khan her at the Parliament House on Wednesday and was attended among others by Senators Sherry Rehman, Nauman Wazir Khattak, Behramand Tangi, Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Manzoor Kakar, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Faisal Javed Khan, Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar, Secretary Aviation, officers from PIA, aviation and other relevant government departments. The committee asked the review committee to submit to the committee information about grade wise categorisation of employees who were terminated or given any other punishment with categorisation of the punishment as well and whether they were given or they utilised the opportunity to review and whether any special consideration was given to hardship cases. The committee also directed to provide information whether there were any cases of double punishment or different punishments for similar charges.

While discussing the matter of corruption in New Islamabad International Airport the mover expressed his dissatisfaction from the delay and inadequate responses given to the question of taking those responsible in corruption to task. The committee was told that several inquiries are still in place on the issue internally, in FIA and in NAB as well as some arbitration going on and final response can be given after they reach some substantial conclusion.  It was told that a cabinet sub-committee is also constituted which is overseeing the matter. The Committee directed that the report on the matter had to be submitted to the committee in one month but it still hasn’t come and  an interim report should come to these committee in the next one month. The commute also recommended that ideally the inquiry should be conducted by only one agency or through a joint investigation committee otherwise they can be contradictory conclusions and more time will be taken in completion.

The committee also discussed the issue of agreement executed between PCAA and M/S Air Ciro regarding  compulsory wrapping of the check-in baggage at all airports. Director PIA told the committee that the decision has been withdrawn after seeing the difficulties faced by passengers and the wrapping is now optional and price has been reduced. The committee observed that the matter is not as simple as it is being presented. The members of the committee were of the view that the details of agreement, tendering process and the contractors be shared with the committee. It was also pointed out that once the tender is finalised the terms and conditions cannot be changed and by changing the price civil aviation has violated the PPRA rules.

While briefing the committee on the proposed bifurcation of Civil Aviation Authority the Secretary Accusation told the committee that some functions of CAA brought conflict of interest in the regularity and services function. He said that no one will be laid off and no one will be affected in terms of service structure and the only change as result of bifurcation will be in terms of administration. He also said that the consolidated fund will for salaries and other uses will also stay the same. The proposal will go to the ECC for discussion the committee was called. He assured the committee that the reports of giving the functions to private entities are based on misconceptions.

Regarding the incident of crash landing at Gilgit Airport the commute was told that the internal inquiry of PIA  has found that there was no technical problem in the aircraft and the burden is on the pilot because she landed with high speed and she should have done a go around. The committee was told that that the pilot is a thoroughly trained pilot and an instructor as well and there is no competency or experience  issue. She, however, has been suspended till the completion of inquiry.

The committee also adopted the report of the sub-committee about two issues of PIA employees on pension policy and harassment at workplace. The committee was told that initially there was no concept of pensions in PIA but currently PIA is disbursing 1.8 billion annually in the head of pensions. The Committee was told that proposal of increasing pensions at 36% was taken to board and after long deliberations the board agreed in 15%. The committee directed to take the matter UO on board meeting again and also asked for a comparative analysis of pension percentages in other companies of similar nature. The Committee decide to calm the affectee and the alleged harasser to next meeting in the harassment at workplace incident.