ISLAMABAD: Adopting the report of its subcommittee, the Senate Special Committee on PIA asked the Foreign Office (FO) on Wednesday to approach the German Embassy in Islamabad to bring back former Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) CEO Bernd Hildenbrand, a German citizen, who was allowed to go abroad in June last year for one month on its intercession despite the name of the CEO being on the ECL.
The recommendation was contained in the report of its subcommittee, which said that the sale of PIA Airbus A-310 to a German firm was in violation of the rules. It was presented by convener Senator Farhatullah Babar in the presence of two other members namely Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi and Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak.
The report said that the then CEO, who was allowed to leave the country for a month despite his name being on the ECL, should be brought back and the FO should be asked to vigorously pursue it with the German Embassy on whose intercession the limited one-time waiver from ECL was granted. It further said that the show-cause notice issued to the then P&L director, a former PAF officer, should be pursued to a logical conclusion with his retirement from PAF being of no consequence in such pursuit. The report also asked for the Senate Secretariat to be regularly kept informed of the progress in both these cases.
“It is strange that, as claimed, the matter of the sale of aircraft was confined to only two officers namely the then CEO and a Director,” the report said, “The PIA management cannot escape responsibility even though it took some positive actions after the matter became public.”
The report also called for diligently pursuing inquiry by the NAB to which the issue had already been referred to under the directions of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly (NA).
Senator Farhatullah Babar proposed that the Senate Secretariat, instead of the PAC, be regularly informed of the progress so that the matter could be pursued by the new Senate next month.
The Special PIA Committee will become dysfunctional next month and Senator Farhatullah Babar’s own term in the Senate will also expire, the Special Committee concurred.
The report also said that the termination of the contract of the CEO and reverting the P&L director to his parent service were too little too late. The former was allowed to go abroad despite his name being on the ECL and the show-cause notice issued to the latter was not pursued.
The report further said that the matter should have been reported to FIA or NAB soon after its seriousness had become obvious instead of waiting for media or parliamentary attention.