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Supreme Court seeks report on 10-year audit of PIA

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday summoned a report on 10-year audit of  accounts of the loss-making national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), from its Managing Director.  

A statement issued by the apex court said that the chief justice has also summoned the officers who have served as managing director of PIA over the last 10 years.

They have been asked to appear before the court on April 12.

According to reports, the chief justice had taken notice of the PIA management halting flight operations on profitable routes and the proposed privatization of the national flag carrier.

The apex court is also said to have slapped a ban on fresh recruitment in PIA till further orders.

The privatization of loss-making entities that were draining the exchequer was a key priority for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) when it swept to power in 2013, said a report.

Despite some initial success, the process stalled in 2016 after staff protests caused havoc with PIA operations and the government passed a law that effectively made it impossible to privatize the airline.

According to the chairman of the Privatisation Commission, the new plans focus on splitting up the carrier, with the core airline business being separated from vast peripheral operations such as catering, hotels and maintenance. The core airline would then be sold.

Analysts have been skeptical about the government’s ability, or willingness, to take on powerful unions and embark on a privatization process so close to general elections likely in July or August.

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