LAHORE – The PIA management remained unmoved on Thursday even after the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence directed it to terminate the contract of its Deputy Managing Director (DMD) drawing a tax-free salary of $50,000 per month for almost four years now.

The Committee met on Wednesday in Islamabad presided over by Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho who expressed concern over state of affairs in the national airlines and directed PIA Chairman/Managing Director Air Chief Marshal (r) Rao Qamar Suleman to terminate the contract of DMD Saleem Siyani.

Members of the committee noted that the salary package of Mr Siyani came to more than Rs4.6 million per month because income tax on his emoluments was being paid by the airlines. A PIA senior officer seeking anonymity said that management should take notice of such huge package since it’s a corporate crime. He was of the view that average salary package of PIA staff was not more than Rs 20-30,000 but the DMD was drawing a huge salary. Sources in the national flag carrier said that DMD PIA Saleem Siyani, a US national, was an employee of General Electric (GE) Aviation, Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) Division having served as sales Representative of GE in Pakistan before he was hired by Capt Aijaz Haroon on a highly controversial contract which is in violation of Pakistani Laws which do not allow a Pakistan state enterprise to hire an employee based in Pakistan with a tax-free salary in US dollars. Siyani belongs to same Memon community to which Aijaz Haroon belongs.

He had no airline experience and his employment on contract was done on the assumption that he will set up an MRO business venture, improve PIA maintenance and help them cut costs and improve operational efficiency. Instead what has happened is deterioration of PIA maintenance and signing of highly controversial contracts for procurement of spare parts from a dubious company based in Dubai. It was under his watch that PIA changed contracts for overhaul of its various engines in use such as Rolls Royce and GE, leasing aircrafts in violation of PPRA rules etc, which has led to rise in technical defects and engine failures.

A PIA regular employee who was working as an engineer in PIA for past 38 years stated that former MD Aijaz Haroon was instrumental in sending on mandatory retirement several regular permanent employees in July 2008, including him without assigning any reasons based just on whims of MD and justified this action on basis of master servant concept giving right to management to sack anybody. These employees still have not been paid their emoluments, yet strangely PIA management makes an excuse that it cannot fire a contract employee whose very contract is in violation of State Bank of Pakistan rules inspite of the ground reality that the purpose for which PIA hired this man on a lucrative tax-free salary of over $50,000 per month with unlimited free first class tickets and fully furnished accommodation for his family in Dubai along with chauffer driven limousine apart from other perks costing PIA millions of dollars.

When contacted spokesman of PIA said that management would look into the matter and would take decision on merit. He said that DMD was also not in country and on his return decision in this effect would be taken.