RAWALPINDI: The Senate Standing Committee on Aviation on Friday took up the issue of international airline routes being cut due to the non-remittance of ticket sales to them in foreign currency and decided to recommend to the aviation ministry to hold a meeting with all the airline heads and persuade them to resume regular operations to the country.

The meeting of the committee was held at Parliament House. The members were briefed on various issues being faced by the aviation sector in Pakistan.

The meeting was presided over by Senator Hidayatullah and attended by senators Saleem Mandviwala, Syed Mohammad Sabir Shah and Faisal Saleem Rehman along with senior officers from the Ministry of Aviation.

Reviewing the matter of cutting international airline routes due to non-remittance of ticket sales in foreign exchange, the committee decided to send recommendations in writing to the ministry to call a collective meeting with all airline heads in order to dispel the negative opinion built about Pakistan and convince them to resume operations as usual.

Matters taken up by the committee included payment of pensions and emoluments to former employees of the CAA who retired in 2014, 2022 and 2023, issues faced by retired employees related to house grants, medical and leave encashment, setting up of counters of different agencies at all airports to facilitate passengers.

The meeting was informed that the retired employees were supposed to be paid pensions and other emoluments according to the CAA Pay and Pensions Regulations 2014 (amended 2019). However, instead, they have been paid according to the CAA Service Regulations 2000.

The CAA inadvertently kept granting pension increases in line with the federal government’s decisions till 2019. This resulted in over-payment to the pensioners the disbursement of which amounted to Rs272 billion.

The committee stressed the need for stringent investigations to probe the matter and formed a subcommittee for the purpose. Directions were given to the subcommittee to submit a report within 30 days.

Regarding issues faced by retired employees related to house grants, medical and leave encashment, the committee stressed the need for the matter to be taken up by the subcommittee as well. A special audit was recommended as well.

Considering the matter of setting up counters of different agencies at airports to facilitate passengers, the committee recommended that training may also be imparted to sensitise the staff.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2023

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