KARACHI: Despite having the singular distinction of employing the highest number of staff per aircraft and over Rs200 billion of accumulative losses, the Pakistan International Airlines has inducted five officers of armed forces in its procurement department on highly lucrative pay, it emerged on Sunday.

According to sources, the officers are coming on deputation from the Pakistan Air Force, a security organisation, and being inducted into a commercial organisation, PIA, and that too in one of its most lucrative departments which handles purchases worth tens of billions of rupees annually.

Many officers of the national flag carrier who had served in this department in the past were facing investigations by the Federal Investigation Agency on charges of corruption, said the sources.

They said the PIA had about 20,000 personnel working as regular, contractual and daily wagers for around 25 to 30 operational aircraft.

PIA spokesperson Mashhood Tajwar confirmed to Dawn the PAF officers’ induction on deputation into the overstaffed and financially crippled PIA.

Pakistan Air Lines Pilots Association (PALPA) chief Amir Hashmi had pointed out a few days ago the overstaffing as well as the poor financial condition of the national flag carrier and expressed concern over recruitment of some officials for a salary ranging between Rs18 million and Rs2.2m.

The PIA’s director of human resources, administration and coordination, Aijaz Mazhar, on June 16 issued a personnel order (No 074/2014 ) notifying the officials’ induction into the PIA.

The communication says: “In pursuance of Aviation Division u.o. No 4(3)/84-FII following PAF log officers / junior commissioned officers (JCOs) have joined duties in the PIA on deputation for a period of two years (extendable). The PIA staff numbers allotted to them and their assignments in the PIA are mentioned against their names.

“(1) Pak No2991 Air Cdr Imran Akhtar Khan (PIA No 67151) has been posted as senior general manager in the procurement and logistics department.

“(2) Pak No 9798 Group Cpt Jawed Ali Soomro (PIA No 67152) has been posted as general manager procurement and logistics.

“(3) Pak No Wg Cdr Amir Qureshi (PIA No 67153) has been posted as deputy general manager purchase technical.

“(4) Pak No 485917 assistant warrant officer Mr Saifullah’s (PIA No 67154) assignment will be notified by senior manager procurement and logistics.

“(5) Pak No 489903 assistant warrant officer Mr Nasir’s (PIA No 67155) assignment will be notified by senior general manager procurement and logistics,” said the letter.

The PIA spokesperson said the PAF officers would be handling the procurement and logistics related issues and insisted that despite being heavily overstaffed the airline did not have people with sufficient expertise in procurement and logistics, and that some of the officers, who had held these positions earlier, were facing investigations by the FIA for corruption-related allegations or were facing corruption charges.

So, these officials had been brought in to streamline the system in the national flag carrier and that they (PAF officials) would also train the airline’s staff so that they (PIA staffers) could take over the department later on, he said.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd , 2014

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