The top management of Pakistan International Airline Limited (PIA) on Friday cancelled all the airport entry passes of the airline staff effectively barring them from entering any airport of the country.
The passes were blocked by the Airport Security Forces (ASF) on behalf of PIA.
The PIA management asked the ASF not to allow any staff members of PIA into any of the airports of the country till further directions from the top management.
An official at the PIA head office in Islamabad said that the decision had been taken with a view to ensuring security of the airports and to protect other assets of the airline.
“The government is going to take harsh measures against the airline staff in the coming days,” PIA spokesman Daniyal Gilani said during an interview. He said that the government was not going to surrender before the unions.
“Airport Security Force has cancelled airport entry passes of all PIA employees at all airports of Pakistan. Passes will be reissued after the strike ends, in consultation with PIA management,” Gilani said.
He further said that PIA’s international and domestic tickets which were not utilised during the strike days would be fully refunded without any additional charges once normal operations resume.
“Around 700 Umra zaireen reached Karachi and Islamabad on two flights of Saudi Airlines on Friday,” Gilani informed Pakistan Today.
On its way back, the flight from Karachi, taking off a short while ago, carried around 300 Umra zaireen, while the flight from Islamabad will take off at around 5:30PM taking along nearly 400 Umra zaireen.
Four similar Saudi Airlines flights have been arranged by the PIA between now and February 8.
The protest of the airline employees is continuing at two places, the PIA Head office and the Jinnah Terminal 2 in the Airport area. But there were no reports of any untoward incident.
Sindh Rangers Director General Major General Bilal Akbar met JAC Chairman Sohail Baloch and assured him of action against those responsible for firing on the protesting employees.
The JAC members, which represent different unions of the PIA employees, called on the DG Rangers and apprised him of their grievances.
Major General Bilal Akbar told them that he would visit the families of those who were killed in the shooting incident which took place during protest in Karachi.
Sources quoted the DG Rangers as having told the visiting delegation that finding an eyewitness was essential to expediting action against those responsible for the murders of PIA employees.
The representatives of the JAC had earlier accused Rangers personnel of firing shots during the protest. However, the Rangers denied the allegations and released a video on Thursday, seeking public’s help to identify a masked man.
The Privatisation Commission Chairman Mohammad Zubair is also set to meet JACPIA’s leadership, but he had not reached Karachi till the filing of this report.
A source in the airline said that Mohammad Zubair would reach Karachi on Saturday along with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.