A three-star to one-star


Now that PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) has been downgraded from a three-star to one-star airline by top rating website AirlineRatings.com, perhaps the government will see the error in its decision to make the issue about fake licenses public in the way that it did. For some reason the ruling party is trying to make it an issue about honesty and transparency, which of course enables it to shift a lot of blame for a lot of things on previous governments as usual, but in reality this is a very different matter. They could still have been honest and transparent if they had undertaken all investigation, filtered out all pilots who did indeed have fake licenses, and then gone to the public with the whole thing. That would not only have ensured transparency, honesty and all that but also that the country and airline would continue to be trusted across the world.
Now, in addition to the EU, UK, UAE and Vietnam, Malaysia has also decided to ground all Pakistani pilots operating there till their licenses can be verified. And the treatment that the country, its general lack of honesty in dealings and especially the fake flying licenses are getting on international media is another matter altogether. It is not surprising at all, in light of all these things, that the national flag carrier has been downgraded. This is the last thing it needed considering how badly its finances were already being managed. Now, it is sure to take another big hit which will leave the government scratching its head all over again. Yet, even though some ministers did not think that it was the right thing to do to go public like the aviation minister did in the national assembly recently, and said so much in a federal cabinet meeting, the government’s official stance is still that it acted perfectly.
Somebody in the government should now explain that if they were right, and transparency was more important than anything else, then why is PIA being made to pay for something that is not its fault at all. After all, it is not the airline that grants licenses. It is yet another tragedy that such important things are regularly mishandled and then rather quickly all energy is put into a needless blame game that benefits nobody; especially not large public organisations in desperate need of good management. Now the matter of PIA’s privatisation will also no doubt be affected. This particular incident has only added to everybody’s problems, including the government’s.