THIS refers to the news item ‘PIA moving head offices to Islamabad next month’ (Dec 21). One is at a loss to comprehend the reason for this and the circumstances that motivated the people at the helm of affairs to contemplate shifting the PIA head offices to Islamabad.

The reason for this decision given in the press release is not very convincing. The exercise is an expensive affair and involves logistics, hiring a corporate office and accommodation for employees. It is a known fact that Islamabad is an expensive city compared to Karachi. So, can PIA afford to execute such a luxurious venture in these challenging times?

At a time when the national airline is in the red and its flight operations have been reduced, both domestically and internationally, and while more and more international airlines are being given landing rights at different local airports, nothing explains this drastic step in the face of tough competition and falling revenues.

Would it not be wise to privatise or liquidate the airline instead of carrying this extra baggage to Islamabad? Would it not be better to float a new airline?

If the step has been taken to displace its employees and force them to opt for the recently-launched voluntary separation scheme, which, to my knowledge, has not been successful so far, it is not justifiable. This is an unprofessional approach and seems unethical too.

If the intention is to belittle Karachi’s importance, which contributes 60 per cent revenue to the national economy, it is an ill-conceived idea and does not bode well for the future. This will only further alienate the cosmopolitan city.

Lastly, and more importantly, shifting of PIA head offices to Islamabad is bad news for the youth of Karachi, who already suffer because of the quota system as far as federal jobs are concerned. This step will further marginalise Karachi’s people in the job market in the public sector as well, which, in turn, will be a cause of further frustration and desperation.

On another and rather serious note, Islamabad was unable to take care of the only elephant it had in the zoo. How will it manage this white elephant?

Khaled Sufi
Islamabad

(2)

THIS refers to the recent decision by the government to shift PIA head offices from Karachi to Islamabad. The solution to PIA’s troubles is not transferring its head offices as it will only transform one set of political appointees into another set of similar appointments.

At this sensitive juncture, this decision will have national security implications that will be exploited by Pakistan’s enemies. Pakistan Railways is in a similar, or even worse, situation, but no one talks about moving its facilities and head office from Lahore to another city.

The real solution is PIA’s privatisation, or at least a professional management independent of political interference.

To give an example, PIA has a codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines for US destinations and may be getting some referral fee. But it can earn much more.

For some reason, Canada has not banned flights to Toronto, and PIA can sign codeshare agreement with Air Canada — a win-win deal, and another reason for Canada not to ban PIA — to take all US passengers. Incidentally, Toronto is also a US Customs and Border Protection post, and the transfer will not be a problem.

True, PIA has to gain public trust, but it can do so gradually. It can then have 14-hour direct flights from all major Pakistan cities, such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and a decrease in travel time will be a boon for all travellers.

The duration of North American flights is always an issue, and it will be a game-winner for PIA compared to Gulf carriers. Pakistani diaspora loves its country and Pakistanis will like to contribute to the wellbeing of their homeland.

However, we also want safety and quality for our families. Before overseas Pakistanis commit to their national airline, we need a 100 per cent commitment from PIA that it will get its act together in terms of flight safety and cabin quality.

Muhammad Zeeshan
Northbrook, Illinois, USA

(3)

PIA is moving its headquarters to Islamabad. Perhaps people of Karachi should prepare themselves to hear similar news about Karachi Port Trust and Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works soon!

S. Nayyar Iqbal Raza
Karachi

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2020

Opinion

Farewell Roosevelt Hotel
21 Jan 2021

Farewell Roosevelt Hotel

It is worth noting that massive plans have been upended and assets are now on the verge of being seized.
A horned dilemma
21 Jan 2021

A horned dilemma

Trump would rather ‘reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n’.
Violence & Afghan peace talks
Updated 20 Jan 2021

Violence & Afghan peace talks

Many of those killed in recent weeks have actively been campaigning against rampant violence and rising human rights violations

Editorial

Updated 21 Jan 2021

Agosta kickbacks trial

A POLITICALLY significant trial opened in Paris yesterday. Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur is in the...
Updated 21 Jan 2021

Indian media scandal

Common sense, factual reporting and ethics are all chucked out the window in the maddening race for ratings, influence and power.
21 Jan 2021

Rising food prices

FOOD inflation continues to challenge the resolve of the government to control the prices of essential kitchen items...
Updated 20 Jan 2021

Broadsheet judgement

There are plenty of skeletons in the Broadsheet cupboard and they must be brought out into the open.
20 Jan 2021

Unequal justice

IT seems no one wants to testify against former SSP Malir, Rao Anwar. At least five prosecution witnesses, all ...
20 Jan 2021

Schools reopening

THE disruptive impact of Covid-19 on education will be felt for years to come. For countries like Pakistan, where...