Former aviation aide rejects kickback charges

Published February 4, 2021
This file photo shows former adviser on aviation in ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s government Shujaat Azeem. - INP/File
This file photo shows former adviser on aviation in ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s government Shujaat Azeem. - INP/File

ISLAMABAD: Former adviser on aviation in ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s government Shujaat Azeem on Wednesday rejected as baseless the allegations levelled by Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar about kickbacks in the leasing of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft that had recently been seized in Malaysia.

The ex-adviser, when contacted, said he was in charge of the aviation division but the day-to-day affairs and actual running of PIA were managed by the board of directors that also undertook the acquiring of the lease of the aircraft.

Proper procedures were adopted through advertisement in the press inviting tenders and the lowest price was accepted and further negotiated and finally further reduced, he said. “Allah may guide him [the minister] to learn to speak the truth,” he remarked.

Commenting on the minister’s claim that the Indian lobby was behind the conspiracy involving seizure of the plane, the ex-adviser said: “It is very easy to blame India and the previous governments for everything that goes wrong.”

Speaking to Dawn, the former chairman of the board of directors, Nasser Jaffer, stated: “It is unfortunate that people who are unaware of the facts level such baseless allegations. In fact, Shujaat Azeem had no role to play in the leasing.”

The two aircraft had been obtained on lease through a competitive procedure in accordance with the PPRA rules, he said, adding that an advertisement had been published and the deal with the lowest bidder was finalised after the rent had been further brought down through negotiations.

Mr Jaffer said the lowest bidder had quoted $670,000 as monthly rent for each of the two 777-200ER wide-body aircraft, which was brought down to $580,000 through negotiations. He said two other bidders, Kenya Airlines and LLFC, had quoted the monthly rent of each aircraft as $1.5 million and $760,000, respectively.

Clarification

Meanwhile, an aviation division spokesperson while referring to a news report published in Dawn on Feb 2, 2021, headlined ‘Minister sees Indian lobby behind PlA plane seizure’, said that the minister was wrongly quoted as saying that “[Former adviser on aviation Shujaat] Azeem was ‘controlled’ by some Indians”.

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2021

Opinion

Missing I.A. Rehman’s wisdom
18 Apr 2021

Missing I.A. Rehman’s wisdom

Does the state of Pakistan, all institutions included, have the political will to address the runaway intolerance in society and
Ostrich approach
18 Apr 2021

Ostrich approach

The logic of blocking social media to contain protests is flawed.
Wings of mediation
18 Apr 2021

Wings of mediation

ADR benefits could ensure the expeditious settlement of tax disputes.
Banning Mr Rizvi
17 Apr 2021

Banning Mr Rizvi

Sooner than later, fanatics start to pull their own strings.

Editorial

18 Apr 2021

More cabinet changes

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan has reshuffled his cabinet yet again in what is obviously another attempt to shore up his...
Blocking social media
Updated 18 Apr 2021

Blocking social media

FOR four hours this week, all social media platforms in the country were shut down, a measure the government said ...
18 Apr 2021

Peasant rights in Sindh

IN a seminar held in Nawabshah recently, the Sindh Human Rights Commission and Hari Welfare Association reiterated a...
17 Apr 2021

Pak-India mediation

QUESTIONS had been swirling about what and who has prompted the latest detente between Pakistan and India. Now, it...
17 Apr 2021

Energy exploration

SOME exploration and production companies want the government to prioritise offshore exploration — a high-risk...
17 Apr 2021

Professor’s removal

IN a step that will go far in sending a message of reassurance to female students and academic staff in ...