ISLAMABAD, Sept 13: The Supreme Court on Thursday summoned Pakistan International Airlines Chairman Air Chief Marshal (retd) Rao Qamar Suleman for the second week of October on an application moved by the Transparency International-Pakistan voicing apprehensions over the state of affairs and corruption in the national flag carrier.

Citing a newspaper report, the Transparency International requested Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take notice of a host of issues prevalent in PIA like purchase of aircraft on very high prices and a loss of Rs410 million suffered by the airline because of cancellation of 1,200 flights between August and November last year.

The application, which was later converted into a petition by the court, also cited an example where PIA had to take three engines on lease, each for $300 per hour, while its own engines which were ready for installation in Singapore and Amman were never brought back only to create justification for the lease agreements.

Likewise, it said, PIA had recently acquired two jumbos (Boeing 747 aircraft) but the same amount could have been used to make several grounded aircraft airworthy. The divergent and contradictory financial figures submitted by the PIA chairman also needed to be seriously examined, the application said.

At first, the Supreme Court sought comments from the PIA chief and these were sent to the applicant for reaction.

In its reply, PIA claimed that no irregularity or illegality had been committed in purchasing and obtaining dry lease of aircraft.

The Transparency International described the reply as devoid of truth and contrary to the facts known countrywide.

After going through the comments submitted by the airline and the reaction of the Transparency International, the chief justice asked the court office to fix the case for the second week of October for regular hearing.

The apex court is also seized with a set of petitions alleging rampant corruption and mismanagement in PIA.

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