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PAC for withdrawal of life-time privileges to former MDs of PIA

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday directed the officials concerned to immediately withdraw the life-time privileges given to the retired managing directors of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). Life-time benefits are allowed to the MDs of PIA costing the organisation extra millions per month, therefore, the practice should be stopped immediately to improve its condition, said Nadeem Afzal Chan, Chairman PAC.

He directed the secretary defence/PIA chairman to take up the matter in the PIA board meeting as well as at government level. The meeting was presided over by PAC Chairman Nadeem Afzal Chan and attended by Noor Alam Khan, Yasmeen Rehman, Hamid Yar Hiraj, Engineer Khurram Dastgir, Akram Masih Gill, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) Buland Akhtar Rana, Secretary Ministry of Defence Asif Yasin Malik and other officials of PIA and the Ministry of Finance. The PAC discussed the audit paras relating to Ministry of Defence and its allied institutions, ie, PIA, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Military Dairy Farms.

Chan said the airline's performance is deteriorating with each passing year so there is no need to give life-time privileges to PIA MDs as most of them are responsible for the current deteriorating situation of PIA. Secretary Ministry of Defence, Asif Yasin Malik told the committee that they have started restructuring PIA and would implement the directives of the PAC regarding withdrawal of privileges to former MDs of the airline. The PAC also questioned PIA officials about the sale of 25 years old A-300 type aircraft and purchase of around 13 years' old aircraft because of their fuel efficiency.

The AGP said under the deal PIA had sold old aircraft and purchased used aircraft. The AGP has no objection over lease agreement but the AGP has objection over the deal. "It was not an appropriate deal," he said. The Secretary Defence said that in present air there is dire need for purchasing fuel-efficient aircraft with less maintenance cost as global airline industry is also facing slump. He said most of the airlines in the world are maintaining their fleets through combination of purchase of new, old aircraft and lease of aircraft. PIA is planning to replace its A-300 fleet with fuel-efficient aircrafts and 5 new 777 aircraft are being purchased while 8 aircraft of A-320 series are being obtained on lease, he added.

Asif Yasin Malik informed the committee that Rs 600 million out of total Balochistan and Special Dera Bugti Development package were spent on setting up of Cantonment Board in Dera and Rs 100 million were spent on the assistance of farming community of Dera as well as salary of school teachers. The amount was allocated by the government under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) basically for change of mindset of people, he said.

When PAC chairman asked as to the spending of Rs 700 million has brought any change in the area, Secretary Ministry of Defence said that public representatives of the area can check and verify these expenditures. He said most of the amount has been spent, hence the committee agreed on settlement of the para.

The PAC deferred the audit para relating to vacation of land of Okara farm, stating the reason that the issue is political and will be settled at political level. The committee also directed the secretary Ministry of Defence to submit report of the profitability of the 23 Military Dairy Farms across the country and also suggested to modernise the accounting system of such farms. Ministry of Defence assured the PAC that accounting system of farms would be modernised by June 30, 2013.

Asif Yasin Malik also informed the committee that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has occupied 800 kanals land in the federal capital. In this regard a meeting of Army Officials and CDA officials was held. The committee directed the Ministry of Defence to hold another meeting and sort out the matter.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012