ISLAMABAD: A Senate committee on Thursday objected to a letter from the attorney general asking it to stay away from the issue of employees laid off by the national flag carrier for possessing fake degrees.
“I cannot understand why the present government does not want to help employees of the Pakistan International Airlines,” said chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation Senator Mushahidullah Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
The committee met again to ask the PIA management to justify dismissal of its employees, including more than 70 cabin crew, seven pilots and some lower-ranking staff members, for submitting fake documents at the time of their induction into the airline.
The PIA management maintains that it is following the orders of the Supreme Court which has directed the national flag carrier to take necessary action against staff for possessing fake academic record.
Nonetheless, in the letter, the attorney general asked the Senate committee not to touch the issue of the dismissal of PIA employees to avoid contempt of court, since the matter is with the court.
“I do not accept any advice from the attorney general unless asked for,” said Mr Khan, calling the letter politically motivated.
According to the chairman, the attorney general took notice of the dismissal of PIA employees after it was reported in the media. It came as a shock to the committee chairman who wondered why the attorney general took notice of this particular issue.
Mr Khan said that he would take up the matter during the Senate session on Thursday evening and raise a question why the attorney general had tried to interfere in the affairs of the committee. “Some people have a problem with the fact that we are trying to solve this problem and do not wish to see it settled,” he said.
In its last meeting, the Senate committee had criticised the manner in which the PIA had dismissed seven pilots and 73 cabin crew for allegedly possessing fake degrees. It said that terminating employees’ service was a drastic action, adding that it was not said in the apex court’s order that employees should be dismissed.
Meanwhile, the committee has directed the aviation division to ensure that the aviation industry caters to the needs of physically challenged people.
Explaining how the subject was close to his heart, PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik assured the committee that the national flag carrier would ensure facilities effective immediately.
Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2019