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PIA CEO's name put on Exit Control List, says Nisar

Published Mar 17, 2017 12:51am


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The government has barred the German chief executive of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from leaving the country due to an investigation into corruption at the loss-making carrier, the interior minister said on Wednesday.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Bernd Hildenbrand has been put on the “exit control list” (ECL), which forbids individuals from leaving the country, due to an ongoing probe into the lease of planes from a Sri Lankan carrier.

“(Hildenbrand's) name was placed on ECL some two or three days back,” Khan told reporters in Karachi, outlining concerns about management of PIA.

“Whatever I have seen in the initial report is painful. At one side PIA is drowning financially, on the other side some people, a mafia, are sucking it like leeches,” Khan added.

Hildenbrand, who had been tasked with stemming losses at PIA so the government can privatise the carrier, said there appears to be some confusion within the ministry about how airplane leases work.

“My conscience is clear. I haven't done anything wrong. There is no question of any corruption on my part,” Hildenbrand told Reuters.

The government had spent several years attempting to sell PIA, which has accumulated losses of more than $3bn.

PIA has also been battling concerns about flight safety since a domestic flight crashed in the mountainous Chitral region in December, killing all 47 people on board.

The company's chairman resigned soon after the crash.

“A lot of wrong doings are taking place with respect to PIA and it is spoiling Pakistans image abroad,” Khan said, adding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been appraised about the inquiry findings.

Hildenbrand said airplane lease prices have come down since the deal was struck with a Sri Lankan airline last year and pointed out “all major transactions were made with the approval of the Board of Directors” and according to the rules.

“Whatever I did was to the best of my ability and in the best interest of PIA,” he added.


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Comments (103) Closed

rashid nasim Mar 17, 2017 01:00am

There is always a escape goat available to sacrifice.

Tanny Mar 17, 2017 01:01am

Nice way of driving skilled people out of the country. Another nail in the coffin of PIA.

waqas sultan Mar 17, 2017 01:09am

Don't hire foreigners or don't disgrace them for your vested interests and in competencies

Falcon1 Mar 17, 2017 01:12am

Corruption at PIA? Who would've thought that. That it allegedly involves a European CEO who was hired at a steep cost to the tax payers to turn things around for the company, reeks of a serious scandal.

If you live long enough, you get to see everything. I never imagined something like this. Simply astounding!!!

Adil Mar 17, 2017 01:16am

I think most Pakistanis can make a long list of corrupt people who should be on the ECL rather than putting a poor German on that list!!

Adil Mar 17, 2017 01:23am

Disturbing. It took him 6 months to get security cleared and now his name is in the ECL. Why would any one come to Pakistan and work? Why cant we be an outward looking country?

Get Real Mar 17, 2017 01:30am

Won't be able force him to stay back. If this becomes an international incident in a matter of minutes...His name will be of the list.

Hussain Mar 17, 2017 01:37am

An appointee of PM, The gentleman may have been following the country leaders from Zardaries to Nawaz brothers. In Pakistan all goes, until you fall.

kashif Mar 17, 2017 01:40am

Another scape goat - When country is lead by person stealing and stashing money abroad, how can he stop others doing this ....

S. A. M. Mar 17, 2017 01:43am

we know how for decades there's been corruption in pia at every level but nobody cared. all of a sudden they've put a german on ecl. that too by corrupt govt of pml n.

Scnadal or Scapegoat Mar 17, 2017 01:51am

Let's See What happen! After reading the news it looks CEO did nothing wrong as most of fraud people do. Let us not be judgemental and wait for official findings.

Gk Mar 17, 2017 01:57am

Nothing is going to come out of this other than Pakistan losing their reputation

Farhan Mar 17, 2017 02:06am


?Whatever I have seen in the initial report is painful. At one side PIA is drowning financially, on the other side some people, a mafia, are sucking it like leeches,? Khan added.

Same applies to our country Mr Interior Minister ??

gladstone peter Mar 17, 2017 02:12am

All his predecessors who were with P.I.A., have NEVER sustained the air line any loss!!!!

ASIF Mar 17, 2017 02:16am

Corrupt governments always appoint corrupt, incompetent and useless individuals. I am not surprised.

Syed F. Hussaini Mar 17, 2017 02:26am

Very effective to stop outsiders from accepting any job in Pakistan.

taha Mar 17, 2017 02:23am

poor guy was setup to be corrupted.

sardar ASIF Mar 17, 2017 02:29am

poor guy :( let him go

flipflop Mar 17, 2017 02:40am

Nothing can save this country, not even a saint sent directly by God Almighty because we the Nation is corrupt to the core. You can't save a country where majority of tasks are performed through references and has high interference of the corrupt government in day to day to business dealings. We can't even run PIA and expect to perform well once CPEC starts on full throttle. Maybe he was involved in corruption but that is because our system allows it

ahmedj Mar 17, 2017 02:41am

If a new airline Serene can be established, why can't PIA fly once again?

Along with PIA, raise another national carrier by almost similar name (Pakistan International). Hire and employ only competent staff from PIA. Continue the process for some years and shift all assets from PIA to PI. Once it is complete, leave the rotten staff (labour Union) and equipment behind and disband PIA. Once it is done, rebrand PI back to PIA. Save the honest staff and make the airline fly high again.

Pashtunyar Mar 17, 2017 02:57am

The interior minister appears to be out of his depth! He is doing everything but the job he is suppose to! Sad!

Ash Mar 17, 2017 03:05am

This German professional came to this troubled country and look how he is being treated. It's true India doesn't need to isolate Pakistan from international community because this government is doing everything to get isolated from the rest of the world in record time.

Ahmed Ghazali Mar 17, 2017 03:01am

Ease.someone.explIn how.PIA is making a loss. They charge more than the rest the and yet we Pakistanis still love with them Nd the planes.are.always full. Wheres the money going.

Ali (CA) Mar 17, 2017 03:11am

Give me the control and only pay a percentage of the earning. No salary, what I earn for PIA pay me otherwise nothing

Alba Mar 17, 2017 03:29am

In the West any CEO running a company bleeding money is unceremoniously sacked by the stockholders. By nationalizing industry Pakistan is going in the opposite direction of both China and Russia. Pakistan should model the country on Argentine by computer and look at the result. In Argentina the workers take over and run failed companies by balancing the books. A better alternative than unemployment. The government of Argentina can no longer back losers. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's government did nationalize the commercial oil companies, but oil companies make money.

Adnan Mar 17, 2017 03:30am

Shameful how professional managers are being victimised which would discourage other international professionals from working in Pakistan.

Indian Mar 17, 2017 03:32am

Sacrificing a black goat for ‘sadqa’ is NOT a German tradition. Why blame the poor guy for your own people's fault?

Syed husain Mar 17, 2017 03:49am

I believe in Bernd Hildenbrand's statement. More than likely, there are scoundrels who have robbed the PIA and now blame Bernd for the theft. Same old story. Nothing has and nothing will change in Pakistan without an honest leader.

Azad kashmir Mar 17, 2017 04:03am

Why is the CEO a foreigner to begin with? Privatize PIA with competent Pakistani management! This used to be a flagship airline run to the ground because of nepotism and foolish management.

S. A. M. Mar 17, 2017 04:23am

an escape goat

Mohammad Ali bajwa Mar 17, 2017 04:34am

No CEO has carte blanche authority, even the President of the USA. How come there was no check and balance and where was the board of directors. All responsible person for this alleged loss must be brought to justice.

Khan Mar 17, 2017 05:16am

What a great way to attract foreign talent! Pakistan: once you arrive, you may never leave.

Harris Mustafa Mar 17, 2017 05:23am

All hail corruption! Thank God the government is not corrupt.

IQBAL HADI ZAIDI Mar 17, 2017 05:29am

I salute you Nisar! You must not spare anyone whosoever from the clutches of law.Few questions, if allowed and not annoying. How can just one individual and that too an expatriate can be involved is not appealing? How all Pakistani working with PIA have turned angels? Iqbal Hadi Zaidi / Kuwait /

Sami khan Mar 17, 2017 05:29am

This is typical of the government to make someone scapegoat for their own mistakes. PIA is a corrupt organization and all the political parties are involved in the failure of this organization.

s shahid Mar 17, 2017 05:26am

Nothing will come out of it and he would be let go soon.

Abdul Malik KHALFAN Mar 17, 2017 05:46am

Why did this government appoint a foreigner? Either this German is corrupt or he may have refused to give any kick backs to the vested interests.

SAmuel Mar 17, 2017 06:18am

I hope they are not scapegoating him. Another scandal at the top level will make PIA look like a lost cause, and thus available for devouring.

Ex_Pat Mar 17, 2017 06:35am

Has he been running The show for the past 3 decades? If he is, put him behind bars, if someone else is responsible, for God's sake nab them before they leave the country.

Stop using deflecting tactics, please!

Asgher Ali Mar 17, 2017 06:52am

Corruption and Pakistanis are synonyms. Why blame a poor German?

Fareed N Mar 17, 2017 07:23am

A German citizen on ECL When was last time a citizen of US or Western Europe was detained in Pakistan. Remember the story of Raymond Davis, an American who killed 2 Pakistanis in broad daylight in Lahore flew away without any punishment.

Baqi illah Mar 17, 2017 07:23am

Looks like German CEO has been corrupted by his lieutanents that have vast experience in this noble job:)

Dr Khan Mar 17, 2017 07:21am

What punishment the Interior Ministry would suggest for his own party PM who spent billions of tax payers money in advertising about PIA premier service and describing this as "revival of PIA". I still remember the tweet of PM daughter on the innaguration of PIA premier service" we have fulfilled the promise we made in our election campaign".

Fareed N Mar 17, 2017 07:29am

Ask yourself a simple question, why was PIA a successful carrier , a pride of the nation when Air Marshal Nur Khan managed it. Afterward, every government loaded the airline with free loaders, political appointees.

CRICKET LOVER Mar 17, 2017 07:39am

Corrution, corruption, corruption...... We need a full stop here.

Khaled Mar 17, 2017 07:47am

What is stopping the government from liquidating the loss making PIA?

kamal Mar 17, 2017 07:52am

Smells of a rat!! Why would a German come all the way to corruption and nepotism infested PIA and then do overt fiscal embezzlement. It is this and the previous corrupt to the core PPP which is trying to find scapegoats, as usual.

Pathanay Khan Mar 17, 2017 08:06am

What moral high ground can the government take in this regard now that they are tarnished by this panamagate scandal. But it is astounding how we can find the one foreigner who would easily be corrupted and then put him incharge of the most corrupt department of our government.

SIDEWISE Mar 17, 2017 08:14am

PIA has been treated just like the cakes that we have seen at anniversaries of political parties in Pakistan. The German guest is less likely to have joined the corrupt top PIA management.

Sajjad kamran Mar 17, 2017 08:28am

PIA's German CEO and corruption ? This is not possible.

Someone else must have done something wrong and the CEO is being made a scapegoat. We are no doubt one of the most corrupt nations on this planet and chances of corruption by our own people are maximum.

patriot Mar 17, 2017 08:29am

What Chaudary Nisar and PLN has done to rid PIA of corruption. $3 billions loss and you have been sleeping. How about corruption in Police and every government department? Everyone is corrupt to the core, from top to bottom, PML or PPP.

Pg65 Mar 17, 2017 08:34am

The PM with Panama is not on an exit control checklist but a German professional working in Pakistan is.

Do you think this will make multinationals line up to invest in Pakistan? There is a limit to how far you can go for party's image without caring about the impact on country's reputation abroad.

UnshacklePak Mar 17, 2017 09:00am

Why try to fix it and then sell it? Sell it now? Let the others figure out what to do with it. People's tax or debt is paying for corruption and mafia wealth. PIA will die on it's own, get something back in return or shut it down.

Sheikh Donalduddin Mar 17, 2017 08:59am

Running PIA is very complicated but it is very easy. How low will the Germans fall. Very sick. Bad!!!

option Mar 17, 2017 09:04am

Unfortunately we trust white folks blindly, hence the consequences!!

citizen Mar 17, 2017 09:09am

When everybody is looting PIA why not CEO?

John Mar 17, 2017 09:22am

Well Done! Expect more expatriates are now eager to work in Pakistan!

Amir Khan Mar 17, 2017 09:26am

Who employed him in the first place?

Dynamite Mar 17, 2017 09:24am

Irony at its best....head of an airline cannot board an international flight....

KT Mar 17, 2017 10:06am

Losses of PIA can be met with proper strategy managed with efficient professional managers which can work without influential pressure of-course approvals can be government jury managed. But such entities come with cost. Nobody is going to solve this loss puzzle free for PIA its time cost management firms can be appointed and reports of two such firms can be compared and their feeds can be taken to consideration.

®pot_belly dancer ω Mar 17, 2017 10:52am

Poor guy is made a scapegoat

Hyder Mar 17, 2017 11:13am


It has been reported in the media that the Pakistan international airline presently is over staffed with inept and unqualified personnel who have been appointed by the democratic elected governments over the years. Such PIA staff with political affiliation have been caught shop lifting in London brining shame to the country.

If Choudry Nisar is really concerned about the losses and corruption in PIA then he should make efforts to first remove the politically appointed people in various positions and cleanse it from nepotism.

Mashman Mar 17, 2017 11:19am

Another Scapegoat of our Corrupt System.

Mohajir Mar 17, 2017 11:51am

European Union will not take this lightly. Harrassing a German National like this will further dent Pakistan's already dented international image.

Hassan (Karachi) Mar 17, 2017 12:05pm

@Mohajir We have already hit rock bottom, the only way to move is up now. When though?

saleem Mar 17, 2017 12:14pm

Let him being investigated so that he may speak out the names of the dirty fishes involved in corruption of this once great airline.

Dr Khan Mar 17, 2017 12:15pm

Those who spent tax payers money in advertising through electronic and print media about pia premiere service also deserve their names to be put on exit control list.

The end is near Mar 17, 2017 12:13pm

Germans are famous Worldwide as very competent, very Hard working, very productive, efficient, motivated and straight forward people. Choudhry Nisar should look for the real Black sheeps in PIA. They have been eating PIA like termites for years and they Are in abundance. They Are mostly from PMLN and PPP. Recruited on political basis, have no job skills and no proper qualifications, no experience, No training but they have a Parchi from their political party to finish PIA. Everyone is making money off Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). It is only the airline who is not making any money. The Main problems of PIA are Nepotism, deeply-rooted corruption, Mismanagement, incompetence, no safety standards, no Merit basis for recruitments, overstaffed PPP Jeyalas who joined PIA during Zardari's tenure using Parchis. PIA can never And will never become a profitable and successful airline unless and until these above mentioned serious problems are solved first on urgent basis.

Saif Zulfiqar Mar 17, 2017 12:36pm

@The end is near , Hitler was German.

abdullah Mar 17, 2017 12:43pm

@The end is near .doesnt mean all germans are competent .lets not be such a slave if he has done wrong he needs to be punished.surely when he is investigated the name of the corrupt will come out.

zak Mar 17, 2017 12:42pm

After this, no international / foreign citizen is going to work for any pakistani company in pakistan!

pakistan has a tough time getting international players to play in pakistan -- now, pakistan will have a tough time getting international executives to work in pakistan.

GREEN Karachi Mar 17, 2017 12:49pm

How can you stop foreigner from travelling back when still investigations are going on and there is no conclusive evidense against the individual. There must be some other respectable way with out hurting individual's imgae. There are international laws which can be used once he found guilty even if he is not in the country. Ch Nisar is always irrational.

Not mentioning how much Govt interference in the affairs of PIA and the Plane used by the Govt officials from Top to every level.

Falcon1 Mar 17, 2017 12:56pm

After this ill-treatment by Pakistanis and malicious attempt to implicate him in corruption scandal, which I am willing to bet he had nothing to do with, PIA Is doomed to fail and shut down.

No self-respecting professional will now want to be associated with PIA, unless he is unqualified, incompetent politically-connected no body, who will take the job to line his pocket to further accelerate the demise of a once great airline.

salaM Mar 17, 2017 01:01pm

@Pg65 Agreed. Why doesn't the government start a Panamagate like investigation into PIA and have Mr. Hildenbrand bring out the dirty laundry of PML and PPP in the open so that the real culprits can be prosecuted. And to Mr. Hildenbrand, we the common Pakistanis offer our sincere apologies for dragging you into the middle of our mess!

Kash Mar 17, 2017 01:03pm

The CEO has done well. The lease deal may have been pricey but I can tell you many people who used the premier service from London were really impressed. Now they are getting a Turkish airline plane leased to continue with the premier service. I think CEO is the best thing for pia

Fakem Ali Mar 17, 2017 01:08pm

@zak : Agree 1000% with you.

Fakem Ali Mar 17, 2017 01:08pm

We should have an investigation to investigate all the previous investigations so far.

Secular Pathan Mar 17, 2017 01:27pm

This is why foreigners will not come to Pak because you hound them like your citizens

Mahmood Mar 17, 2017 01:33pm

I hope it is not true, but allegations may have been fabricated against him, to cover someone else's nefarious deeds.

After this is over, if I was him, I will sue government of Pakistan PIA for tens of millions of dollars for defamation, slander, restricting his right to travel, preventing his exit from Pakistan and preventing him meeting his loved ones. That alone is going to be a death knell for PIA, combined with negative publicity in the foreign press.

Shameful spectacle and thoughtless reaction by the government. I am glad I am not in his shoes.

Now we can expect to set up an investigation committee to look into this?? We are drowning in committees, who incidentally, never make their reports or findings public.

saqib mughal Mar 17, 2017 01:40pm

Yes as if making a foreign CEO a scapegoat won't tarnish the image of the country.

Skeptic Mar 17, 2017 01:50pm

Laughable development, where the a German CEO is being made a scapegoat. PIA afterall, knows some goats. The real goat probably escaped and laid all the blame on this guy??

Shameful state of affairs.

Haider Mar 17, 2017 01:57pm

Corrupt people should be punished.

sherryaar Mar 17, 2017 02:13pm

what was mr. nisar doing for so many days .. he is now telling stories.

Sajjad kamran Mar 17, 2017 02:27pm

@option : corruption is the job of our own "brown" guys. The white guy is a scapegoat for our acts.

Ghaznavi Mar 17, 2017 03:32pm

A Nation is defined by its people. The people of Pakistan have to seriously look at themselves and correct their faults. At the moment I see no signs of that happening. Consequently all establishments/Institutes/systems will continue to decline.

AK Mar 17, 2017 03:52pm

It is our politicians at the highest level who should be put on the exit list, not the hapless German CEO who they are trying to scapegoat.

The politicians have used PIA as an employment dumping ground for their corrupt and unqualified political supporters and brought PIA to its knees.

IBN E ASHFAQUE Mar 17, 2017 04:37pm

Nisar is sacrificing Hildenbrand to salvage his party and himself..............PIA and Nandipur are glaring examples of MISMANAGEMENT by PML (N)...........however the sheeple in Pakistan most likely will vote them again...................

malik humayoun Mar 17, 2017 04:38pm

J A Ch Nisar Excellent working. Long live Ch Nisar Long live Pakistan

ABE Mar 17, 2017 04:56pm

Great people to learn from. I suppose being in the company of corrupt PIA officials was bound to rub off on the German gentleman, sooner or later.

After all, the company you keep, tells you a lot about you. Sad, that we have nothing better to offer to the rest of the world.

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Mar 17, 2017 05:16pm

What a silly joke?

May I ask which other government owned or sponsored entity, organization or enterprise is making profit? Why to single out only PIA in this respect?

gullu bhatt Mar 18, 2017 03:22pm

@rashid nasim it is scape and not "escape"

CH. K. A. Nye Mar 18, 2017 04:20pm

@Fareed N... Hello... He was released on the age old 'pay and get forgiven' concept... Happens all the time especially when the victims are poor and easily pressurised.

amarnath Mar 18, 2017 07:13pm

For that german to extricate himself from a pakistani quagmire... all the best

Sami Mar 18, 2017 08:47pm

Now they blame a poor German for the ills of an airline they have been ruining over the last 30 years!

Excuse me Mr. PM, take a look at the German culture of professionalism and efficiency, compare it to ours of corruption, bribery, and lack of business ethics, put your own record in there as well, and then tell me what are the chances that his good man has done anything like what Pakistanis are so adept at doing?

No professional will want to come to Pakistan to help you out if that's how you treat them.

Sami Mar 18, 2017 09:01pm

If we only grew bananas, we would definitely be called a banana republic, but that would actually be an upgrade from what we really have become. Acts like these not only will keep foreign professionals from coming to help Pakistan, but it is exactly stuff like this that keeps overseas professionals of Pakistani origin from coming back. How can a nation of 150+ million fail to produce even a half dozen people with common sense, pragmatism, genuine desire to serve, and guts who can lead Pakistan out of the mess the short-sighted, corrupt and incompetent leadership has gotten the country into?! Sad!

Champu Mar 18, 2017 09:18pm

@ahmedj : What a foolish idea.

khan Mar 18, 2017 09:27pm

This is nothing new for PIA. It is not a failed airline. The management has failed it. This includes everybody including the Govt. When everybody in the nation is corrupt, this will happen everywhere. We are not sincere to even ourselves. Once we start keeping our country ahead of us, good things will start to happen. The sad thing is that we have been keeping ourselves ahead of everybody.

khan Mar 18, 2017 09:37pm

@Adil. It is not the matter of foreign VS domestic CEOs. The people who made PIA the best airline of the world, once upon a time were Pakistanis. The problem is, we have eaten this once greatest airline ourselves. Only we can make it the greatest once again. Let's not blame others and instead change our behaviors to make this country the best again.

Naseer Bhatti Mar 19, 2017 12:07am

@Adil Question would be will that German be formally arrested and put to trial or will he just live on ECL and eventually make a daring exit like Ayyan Ali ??

Zak Mar 19, 2017 12:27am

Hand management to a professional group from abroad.

AZIZ Mar 19, 2017 01:50am

Who should I trust? Tough question. On one side, I have the Pakistani government with a established history of corruption and on the other side, I have a well respected CEO who ran Lufthansa, one of the finest airlines in the world. Hmm...who shall I trust?

Ahmad zubair Mar 19, 2017 07:18am

To relieve the CEO in a dignified way is always the better option.He has done as per market conditions. Now PIA has leased the planes from Turkish Airlines which has reported a 2016 net loss of $77 million, reversed from a net profit of $1.7 billion for the previous year. I am pretty sure that,If managed properly, PIA can turn the $3 bn loss into $3 bn profit within 3 yrs.

Karim Lalani. Mar 19, 2017 09:09am

PIA & CAA both played their part in making PIA a loss making entity. Prabe should started from CAA,the high ups, whose open sky policy has damaged PIA.