By Swair Akram —
A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmad refused to restore Air Marshal Arshad Malik as Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) while allowing the PIA Board of Directors (BoD) to continue peforming its functions under rules.
“PIA is not some one’s fiefdom but it is an asset of the nation. The CEO was brought under temporary arrangements”, the CJP observed caustically during the hearing in court room one today. Justices Sajjad Ali Shah and Ejaz-ul-Ahsan joined him on the bench. The CJP also said in his remarks to the PIA’ counsel, “It would be better to ask Arshad Malik to leave PIA!”
SHC had stopped CEO PIA Air Marshal Arshid Mehmood from performing his functions and imposed ban on new appointments, retrenchment of the employees and posting, transfers in PIA.Arshid Mehmood has challenged SHC decisions against him in SC. In its verdict, the SHC also prohibited the management from further policy making and with sale of assets worth more than Rs10 million. General Secretary PIA Senior Staff Association (SSA) Safdar Anjum had filed the petition in the SHC arguing Air Marshal Arshad Malik did not fulfill eligibility criteria for PIA CEO and did not have any previous experience of running in an airline.
The court observed that the sanctioned CEO appointed on deputation in the national flag-carrier had also enrolled 10 more people in PIA. CJP Gulzar Ahmed observed rules and procedures were clear on the appointment of CEO for PIA. “The court will review the appointment process”, the CJP said.
The three-member bench of the SC allowed the PIA BoD to run all administrative affairs. Hearing is adjourned for two weeks.
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