Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fall of Yet Another Pillar

Our new national airline?

It seems like this present government has taken an oath to squash every desire or realization that Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had when he saw Pakistan come into existence. There have been numerous examples in the last 4 years of their governance where these imbeciles have choked and strangled every institution to its death. We have seen law enforcement agencies being completely ineffective, the education system is in tatters, an age-old railway system is on its last leg, and now the government have set their eyes - or perhaps had it the day they came in to power – on the national airliners of Pakistan, Pakistan International Airlines.

The government has done everything in its power to destabilize anything that even remotely operates as a vital cog in running the state, no matter how big or small that cog is. For years we have been hearing that PIA may die soon, but never have been these alarms ringing louder than they are now. What we are seeing is a proper decimation of PIA with precise planning and plotting by this dangerous regime. The reason why we point the fall of PIA towards Zardari and his cronies is backed with evidences, which probably hasn't yet caught the attention of our media, and if it did, then less than adequate coverage was given to a problem as glaring as it is. The slow disintegration of the PIA, an institution as big as it is, has actually left a lot of people wondering as to how can it go wrong so abruptly.

Let’s start from the start to explain how the plan has been hatched and how things are falling with such surgeon-like precision, beggar belief.

The terminal decline that the PIA has been in, started in 2007 when 35 of the 42 standing fleet of PIA were barred by the European Union in and out of the region due to lack of safety regulations and maintenance. However, the ban was a temporary one and it was duly over turned, but that wasn't the end of issues for PIA.

There have been numerous reports in the media about a number of Jiyalas being hired by PIA at the behest of the PPP as it is in power, and there is little to refute the claim. Then, recently a report came in the fore when illegal appointments by two high-level  IT managers set PIA aback by more than Rs48 million, an organization already struggling to make ends meet, while the managers were pardoned with a letter of displeasure issued to them, stating to avoid such illegality in the future. Several officers within the organization have criticized the top management for not taking stringent action against those who were found guilty, especially in the period of this government. Furthermore, Iran has also blocked its airspace for any PIA's air crafts due to a six-month long backlog in transit payments, amounting to $600,000.

The efficiency - or rather lack of it – on the part of our national carrier was for everyone to see during this year's Hajj season that left many pilgrims stranded at the airport due to delayed flights for one reason or the other. What also came into notice was the poor management and maintenance of the entire set up, countless others vowing not to travel in the nation airline in the future citing health and safety dangers.

Inside sources have revealed the dirty secrets of this administration, which has looked to instate key personnel of their own choices to carry out the task: to bring down PIA. Sources within the national airlines have stated that the former Managing Director, Aijaz Haroon - close aide of President Zardari – had an entirely different agenda, which looked to push PIA towards bankruptcy. It was only a popular uprising by PIA employees against the reforms of Aijaz Haroon that saw him ousted from the position. However, it didn't end the misery for PIA and its employees because in the span of almost 3 years, Aijaz Haroon has possibly pushed PIA to an irreversible position.

It came as a surprise to many, especially to a former MD/DMD of PIA, Dr S Mir Muhammad Shah that PIA is looking to induct new fleet of 30 aircraft through commercial borrowings without any government assistance, which is backed by inconclusive and indecisive planning on the part of the PIA planning department. Mr Shah has written twice recently, in a renowned English language newspaper, where he talks of PIA's hay-days, when PIA was incorporated for assistance of technical and managerial nature not only within Pakistan, but outside Pakistan as well. However, he also talks of the recent problems with the national airliner where he writes:

“It seems a systematic plan is being pursued through which the PIA is to be partially or completely removed from the scene of commercial aviation in this region.”

These words coming from a former MD of PIA carries immense weight, as he further continues to write that PIA has now installed its Reservation System in USA, which means a possibility exists where the system will be used as a strategic bargain tool against Pakistan, whereby bringing the national carrier to a grinding halt. There is a key reason why we, like former MD/DMD of PIA, think that they are working so diligently to bring down PIA.

It is now becoming clearer why is it happening what is happening. Last year there were slight murmurs of a new airline, which is almost ready to replace the current national airline. According to claims, the name of the airline is Air Indus which has been said to be owned by a close relative of the President House's inhabitant, possibly President's sister – Faryal Talpur, Member of National Assembly. The Air Indus, reportedly owned by Faryal Talpur, is a company that is not being registered in Pakistan, but in the Caribbean islands – the Bahamas. If our readers have had an opportunity to click on the hyperlink to the website of our future national airliner, they would observe that there is an uncanny similarity in the domestic routes with that of PIA. In fact, if you look closely, Air Indus would look to operate on domestic routes on which no private airlines currently runs flights because, as per PIA, it is financially nonviable for private airliners, routes such as Peshawar to Chitral and Rawalpindi to Gilgit and Skardu. Now it can be said with some certainty that those slight murmurs have now turned into open secret, as the company had even made a Page on a famous social networking site, by the name of the airline. The airline also had a Wikipedia page but was apparently deleted last year on 16th November. It has also come to our knowledge that the removal of Aijaz Haroon from PIA's post was to reinstate him for the same position in this upcoming airline.

Air Indus uses PIA's tagline as its own... and that's just the beginning!

For Air Indus to flourish in the business, it is necessary that there is a proper demise of the national airline, once regarded as the best airliner in Asia, which could open ways for the incumbent to replace it. The replacing act is also going to be interesting, as we anticipate that PIA will face bankruptcy, which is imminent, and the new airline would look to buy-out the assets (and liabilities, if they felt like) of PIA for a price that would be next to nothing. The (audited) financial statements of the year 2010 give an even more stark picture as the accumulated losses and total liabilities of the organization exceeds its total assets by a colossal figure of Rs40 billion, and its good enough to cast doubts over its ability to carry on as a going concern. But in simple words, it also means that the government would have to pay to the buyers, instead of receiving any thing making it perfect for the owners of Air Indus to buy-out PIA, for an amount worth in peanuts. However, PIA may have proven to be a bit more resilient than what this corrupt government would have predicted as the new airline was looking to start operation in the last quarter of 2010, which didn't happen.

Now it makes perfect sense to us, as to why restructuring of PIA by the old faithful stalwarts of PIA and sincere bureaucrats have fallen on deaf ears, because without the fall of the PIA, Air Indus cannot operate as it is pinning its hope on PIA's large fleet of aircraft to be bought by this company. There is also a propaganda campaign by news of crash landings, flight delays and technical failures of PIA making headlines on a daily basis to push PIA to a dead-end.

Having said that, there are three new airline companies, looking to commence operation next year, in which Indus Air is one of them, while the other two are Bhoja Air and Pearl Air, where Bhoja Air is re-entering into business after a span of 12 years and the latter had received their ready-to-fly licence in the 1990s, only to begin operations now. The interesting bit with Indus Air is that they managed to get their licence in a very short time, adding more fuel to the fire.

The reforms of this government have hardly resolved issues for this country, in fact, if anything, they just seem to exacerbate the existing problems. PIA is a fine example of failed policies, but more to it, a case of current government's evil intentions to make PIA a thing of past, while keeping their vote-bank happy by faulty inductions of their Jiyalas and amassing wealth for days when they are not going to be in power. Definitely, Mr. Zardari and his team of thugs have good advisers to suggest them to invest in airline business, as increasing number of air-passengers within Pakistan reflect a story of one pillar falling (Pakistan Railways) along with another.

Booking commences soon - Good News? Huh?


  1. Dear Saif if u look at the present politians far and wide and from both side of the divide they are enemies of Pakistan. PPP is famous for pro indian policies and Bhutto was the architect of Bangladesh.PMLN is headed by a greedy clan who says TWo nation theory has no more relevance. We should have trade with Bal thakreys Hindustan.They are Leaches who by thier ulterior designs want to weaken Pakistan by anyway they can.Keep fighting the case for Pakistan its a service in the way of ALLAH. MAY ALLAH BE WITH U.


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