PM Abbasi to be asked to help punish those involved in PIA aircraft sale


ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary committee on Wednesday decided to call upon the prime minister to ask for his assistance in ensuring accountability for all those involved in the PIA aircraft sale.

National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat Chairman Rana Mohammad Hayat Khan said that the prime minister has the power to get the guilty individuals punished appropriately.

Earlier this year, the aeroplane (A-130)—which was still capable of flight—was sold to a museum in Leipzig, despite the fact that no permission had been sought, senators had informed in March, adding that neither an agreement was signed nor the PIA received any advance payment for its sale.

On the other hand, PIA Spokesperson Mashhood Tajwar had said that the plane had not gone missing; rather it was in Germany, where it had been flown after being chartered to a British company for picturising a movie in Malta.

The aircraft was sold to the museum on the directions of the senior management for a little over $5 million according to the PIA officials present.

In a recent National Assembly session JUI MNA ALiya Kamra said that the aircraft could have fetched more money had it been sold as scrap adding that the ‘film’ that the aircraft was used for was allegedly anti-Palestine hence it hurt the sentiments of Pakistanis.

It was told in the meeting that four Airbus A310-100 aircraft were inducted by PIA in 1993, but after 20 years PIA decided to offer these aircraft in the open market by inviting tenders in July 2016; however, the national aircraft received no bid at all. The meeting was also told that the former director Procurement Air Commodore Imran Akhtar proposed the sale of the aircraft and was approved by the then PIA CEO Bernd Hildenbrand.

Bernd Hilderbrand’s name was subsequently removed from the exit control list on the condition that he would return within 30 days from Germany, which he never did. It was further found that the PIA Board of Directors was not taken into confidence when this decision was taken by the then PIA CEO.