I zoom into the devastating pictures of site of a passenger plane crash to find body, might be i could see his face last time, might be, I can reach my eye to identify body. Flight 8303 took my eternal peace, when i realize that the body of brother burnt to death alive until vanished to outward identity. The agony of losing my dearest one family person, nobody can estimates the magnitude of sorrow, My heart shatter into thousand pieces, people keep telling that life goes on, but to me that’s the saddest part, the wound that never healed. He was amongst the 97 persons who victims of the horrific 22 May PIA plane crash.
The wreckage of the Plan have been lifted, the crash site of flight PK-8303 washing away, remains bodies of passengers are buried after horrifying prolong process of DNA tests to identify the charred bodies and then after few weeks, eventually the incident fading away as usual. But this pain breaking the shell that encloses my understanding, countless thoughts and queries in my mind, I am legitimate as a sovereign, citizen of pakistan, having right to ask few fundamental questions to accountable authorities that needs to be answered!
It is very easy to blame on the Pilot, who is not alive to defend himself, right after the incident, the press conference of CEO PIA mounting the impression that it was an accident that would be most likely Pilot error and media started speculation around it, this crash is one of the most catastrophic aviation disasters in Pakistan that could not be charged on Pilot error only.
It is possible that PIA becomes the last choice for travelers, the public sector national carrier Pakistan International Airline has already a bad reputation with timing and service in the past, and this would affect the airlines business even more. Many people would be inclined to fly competition, for now.
On the other hand, working under circumstances during pandemic while in the condition when cockpit and cabin crew did not provided PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) was alarming and Pakistan Airlines Pilots’ Association (PALPA) demanded taking measures to ensure aircrew’s safety that was compromised and coronavirus-related SOPs were ignored on initialed operated humanitarian flights by PIA.
The safety measure should be adopted proactively, did not required demand, and upon protesting or pilot’s strike. Actually, this tactic is very easy to declare a professional association who’s mandate is nothing but to ensure safety and right of the crew, as a pressure group that manipulated and pressurized authorities for taking decisions as per own favors.
On the other hand, Essential Services Act (ESA) on PIA has been imposed in order to continue special flight operations amid coronavirus crisis in which employees could not reject to perform duty; otherwise, the workers will face legal action by the concerned authorities.
Imposing of ESA is not only causes mounting pressure on staff specially Pilots for their Psychosocial wellbeing but also tantamount to violating the fundamental rights granted by the Constitution and committed under the UN declarations.
The condition at the PIA stems from frequent labor strife, changes in leadership, and the airline has had six chief executive officers in five years, that in turn has added to the distresses of the carrier, which last reported a net income a decade and a half ago, and has suffered 52 safety-related incidents in the 54 years of its existence.
Air travel works on dependability and trust of passengers on your service. People are too safety conscious when it comes to air travel and on this ailment it will take a lot of time to recover passenger’s trust.
PIA, and Pakistan’s aviation sector in general, is managed by either generalist bureaucrats, or military officers, or a combination of the two that leads to a highly bureaucratic and unaccountable system in which plane crashes are only the extreme indicator. It is obvious that their presence has not exactly led to turning such public-sector companies around profitably is acutely evident and puts paid the common assumption that the military is more efficient at managing Pakistani institutions than civilians. That has partly prompted by a tumultuous history and long-pending plans to sell the airline have seen violent street protests by labor unions fearing layoffs, and political parties in opposition.
PIA is current Chief Executive Officer, Arshad Mahmood Malik, is a Vice Chief of Air Staff at the nation’s air force. Why CEO PIA having dual duties as serving Air Marshal? Even he has managed his appointment by a mix of SECP rules and deputation for Armed Forces officer to keep the benefits of both sides, which is a gross violation of relevant rules and transparency. It goes without saying that he may be a strong reason of the induction of air force officers are coming on deputation from the Pakistan Air Force PAF, which is a security organization, and being inducted into a commercial organization like PIA, this may be one of the core reason of PAF officers’ induction on deputation into the overstaffed that leads financially crippled PIA.
Now what business does an officer of the Pakistan Air force has to serve in a commercial venture? What is the merit of such appointments? This is indeed very unfortunate.
No government in Pakistan has ever managed the national assets and the publicly owned companies such as the national flag-carrier PIA, in good faith and with integrity, our political leadership needs to provide the highest level of sustained commitment towards its duties. They should put national interest above personal interests.
They must take every step to safeguard the national interest, which is the only way to strengthen state institutions like the PIA. The senate of Pakistan discussed the plan crash incident on 10 June session, raises the fundamental issues and concerns that must be answered by the government.
Without a wider commitment to excellence, to professionalism and to an economic transformation, no one should expect any major changes or improvements. This is all getting worse and we do not know we will get the answer.
About Samreen Khan Ghauri:
She is a Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) specialist. Passionate about advocating Human Rights & Sustainable Development Goals, she can be accessed on firstname.lastname@example.org & @samreenideas