The government, the media and the crash | Pakistan Today

The government, the media and the crash

We drop to new lows all the time

Why PIA is in such a mess got less airtime than usual this time, perhaps because everybody knows the reason and there’s no value-add there in terms of news. PIA, like other Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs), has been stuffed with so many political appointees for so long now that a serious sorting out may be well out of the question

 

A fair amount of debate has already taken place regarding the recent PIA crash. Unfortunately, expecting our mainstream media not to go into unwarranted overdrive in such matters is like expecting our government to act with the kind of responsibility required to prevent them. But since there has been debate, and the tragedy was a major news item, DNA has decided to do a little analysis of its own.

How PIA has failed to maintain regulation safety standards and the number of recent crashes must be on the fingertips of anybody watching the news or reading the papers these days. But sadly that is the extent of the prime time debate. That and how Junaid Jamshed’s death – tragic as it was, like everybody else’s – gave the media just one more direction to run blindly in.

Why PIA is in such a mess got less airtime than usual this time, perhaps because everybody knows the reason and there’s no value-add there in terms of news. PIA, like other Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs), has been stuffed with so many political appointees for so long now that a serious sorting out may be well out of the question. Talk of privatisation, even partial sell-off, is meaningless. Finance might not be the finance minister’s strong point, but business dealing is. And nobody buys an airline broken down to the core, with liabilities running into the billions. You could settle the bills – dot the I’s and cross the T’s, so to speak – but the pit is too deep for a mere patch up job. And that’s when the privatisation idea starts going round in circles.

Maybe the only doable idea is scrapping the airline altogether – lock, stock and barrel. Take all the losses and bury it. Something on the lines of the mysterious circular debt repayment that was neither explained nor audited. Nobody thinks that was a smart idea anymore. Especially since it has risen to more in less than half the time. So maybe they should take this loss too and start another carrier all over again. But then what would they do about other PSEs?

Buried beneath this debate, like the wreckage in that mountain, are those innocent souls that perished, and their families whose lives were suddenly thrown into a tailspin. If it’s a sudden accident mid-air, it’s understandable in some strange way, even forgivable. If there was a fault with the engine and the pilot flew nonetheless, it’s not understandable and not forgivable. But if it stems from the rot of political appointments and all that corruption, then it’s a crime.

But the script plays out like it plays out in this Islamic republic. The prime minister has already ordered an inquiry. Maybe the plane, maybe the pilot will be to blame. Most likely the pilot since he’s dead and that’ll be it for the inquiry. And that’s where we’ll leave it till be pick it up again after, god-forbid, the next crash. Wish it away all you want, but unless you stem the rot, there will be more, and the whole country knows it.

When that happens, the media will be all over it for sure – as it should be. And the prime minister will order a quick inquiry. But nobody will mention, or even remember, the unfortunate departed of this crash. Their names will be forgotten. They will have no more news value. They will not be part of any debate.

But the script plays out like it plays out in this Islamic republic. The prime minister has already ordered an inquiry. Maybe the plane, maybe the pilot will be to blame. Most likely the pilot since he’s dead and that’ll be it for the inquiry. And that’s where we’ll leave it till be pick it up again after, god-forbid, the next crash

That is the sum total of this analysis, which draws on frantic ongoing debate, about the news of tomorrow. The tragedy of today has very limited space in the prime time of tomorrow. These names, splashed across TV screens today, will not be mentioned publicly again. From now on they’ll be lucky to survive as statistics. So we mention them, one last time, if only to keep the debate going. Somebody must answer. About the crash. About PIA. And about those poor innocent souls that went down alongside Junaid Jamshed but never found corresponding airtime.



One Comment;

  1. Ibrahim said:

    It's shameful for entire PIA top slot management and the political leadership of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The air fleet consists dark ages boxes while the most airlines have their fleet consisting of the top modern equipment within in the plane for entertainment. When one travels on PIA, it seems that you are a prisoner in black box having no idea where you are heading.

    Potentials we do have but corruption, miss-management. lack of ability to drive an airline towards expansion and profitably we are having a group of thieves , looters, mafia and name it as employees as well as top management. We lack the will to be competent, efficient airline. Millions of overseas Pakistanis are ready to pay for their children to visit Pakistan and packages prices should be offered for trips to northern Pakistan providing cultural, language and religious learning facilities. The passengers should proud of services as well as the best air fleet in the world rather than fleet we have today. Management as well as the employees redundancy and competent top slot is essential to drive the PIA out crisis and make it the pride of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

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