LAHORE: The government is facing problems in finding a new chairman for the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), with none of the persons contacted so far willing to accept the position under the existing circumstances.

The last chairman, Azam Saigol, resigned from the otherwise prestigious position on Dec 12, four days after the fatal crash of a PIA aircraft near Havelian.

“We are facing problems in finding a suitable candidate for the position... after the plane tragedy. No one the government has contacted so far is willing to accept the offer under the current circumstances. Media scrutinises him [PIA chairman] like no other person which is one of the reasons as well,” Privatisation Commission chairman Mohammad Zubair told Dawn on Sunday.

He said the job was such a difficult and challenging one that two PIA chairmen had resigned from the position over the past seven months.

In reply to a question about the government’s decision to split the national carrier into ‘core’ and ‘non-core’ business units, Mr Zubair said the process was in its final stages, but it would be completed after the appointment of a new chairman.

“The financial advisers of the Privatisation Commission held a meeting with the PIA management some three weeks ago regarding separation of the core and non-core business units... and worked out the modalities. The next meeting was scheduled to be held in January before the plan was to be submitted to the PIA board for approval, but now it will be re-scheduled after the appointment of a new chairman,” he said, adding that the role of the chairman was that of a strategic decision maker. So the final decision would be taken after taking him on board.

“During the process of separating the core and non-core business units, some employees may be reshuffled, but the government is not considering any plan for rightsizing in the PIA,” he said.

Published in Dawn December 19th, 2016