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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary committee on Wednesday decided to seek the prime minister’s assistance in bringing to justice all those involved in the PIA aircraft sale.

“The prime minister has the powers to get the guilty individuals behind bars,” said National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat Chairman Rana Mohammad Hayat Khan.

In Dec 2016, one of the four Airbus, A310 aircraft, was sold to Leipzig Museum, Germany, without following procedures.

The committee was informed that the German authorities were demanding more than 200,000 euros parking charges for the aircraft, including charges for altering a terminal at an airport.

The issue of the sale of an Airbus A310 was taken up as a calling attention notice moved by JUI MNA Aliya Kamran in a recent National Assembly session. She asked why the aircraft was sold for only 47,500 euros.

“The aircraft could have fetched more money had it been sold as scrap,” said Aliya Kamran. She also highlighted that the plane was used in an anti-Palestinian film which also hurt the sentiments of all Pakistanis.

The meeting learnt that four Airbus A310-100 aircraft were inducted by PIA in 1993. After completing 20 years of service, PIA decided to offer these aircraft in open market by inviting tenders in July 2016, but the national flag carrier received no bid.

The meeting learnt that former director Procurement Air Commodre Imran Akhtar proposed the sale of the aircraft and was approved by the then PIA CEO Bernd Hildenbrand.

Bernd Hildernbrand, whose name was removed from the exit control list on the condition that he will be back within 30 days but he never returned, Joint Secretary, Aviation Division, Abdul Sattar Khokhar told the committee.

Mr Khokhar informed the committee that PIA had agreed not to receive 47,500 euros, the price at which the aircraft was sold, and decided to pay it for the aircraft’s parking charges at the museum.

“The sale price of the A310 was settled before advertising its sale. Advertisement for sale of the aircraft was placed after violations of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules were highlighted in the case.

The PIA Board of Directors was not taken into confidence. The sale of the aircraft was the sole decision of the German CEO,” said Abdul Sattar Khokhar.

Responding to a question about the PIA aircraft being used in a film, Mr Khokhar said a London-based company, Aviaction Ltd, had sought one A310 aircraft on lease for a movie to be shot in Malta. The name and theme of the movie were not conveyed to PIA. The plane was used in the film and shown as an Air France aircraft. After the shooting, the aircraft was painted in PIA livery and flown to Leipzig from Malta.

“PIA received 210,000 euros for his charter,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2017