By: Muhammad Ibrahim Bhatti
The national airline has been in the news for many years. It has been the center of national heritage politics, sometimes due to strikes by pilots’ representative union Palpa and sometimes due to strikes by the CBA union. Attempts are being made in the current administration to give a very negative impression, especially of the PIA and its assets, such as the sudden collapse of the PIA-owned Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, USA, in 1924, almost a century later. Closed. It was not just a hotel but a symbol of Pakistan in America. It is pertinent to mention that PIA came in the news earlier when Ghulam Sarwar Khan, one of the most important members of the cabinet and Minister for Aviation, stood on the floor of the National Assembly and conferred the degrees of 658 members, including PIA pilots. What did he claim to be? He also said that all these people were recruited during the previous regimes of PPP and PML-N from 2008 to 2018. His remarks sparked a wave of concern in the global aviation industry, with PIA banning flights to Europe and the UK, which the European Commission’s Directorate for Mobility and Transport maintained at its recent meeting. He also directed the Director General of Civil Aviation to reconsider the issuance of licenses to pilots. PIA is not just a national heritage but a historical asset in which visionary leadership like Air Marshal Asghar Khan and Air Marshal Noor Khan have played an important role. Prime Minister Imran Khan should form a special committee in this regard to review the whole issue and formulate proposals by following which PIA can once again be included in the world’s leading airlines.