Interestingly, the PPP leaders have not yet chided the prime minister on this issue. From PTI’s side, Imran Khan has declared the premier’s move as “shameful.” Moonis Elahi further said as, “how could a government instead of offering a solution to bring the PIA out of the troubled waters put an extra burden on it”.
“Who is responsible for bringing down the national flag carrier to the state it is in today… certainly the N-League is putting the last nail in the PIA’s coffin?” He added.
“The PIA’s Boeing will remain under the use of the prime minister for three days thus affecting the airline’s flight schedule but also cause millions of rupees of losses to the national exchequer. Interestingly, the prime minister is engaging the PIA plane at a time when 10 ATRs, three A310 and six other aircraft (total 19) have already been grounded on one reason or another. ATRs grounded after the crash of one of the ATR on the way to Islamabad from Chitral on Dec 7. Pop star turned Islamic preacher Junaid Jamshed, and 46 other passengers lost their lives in the crash.
After the allocation of Boeing 777 aircraft for the prime minister’s visit, PIA will be left with less than 20 planes. Boeing 777 is a big aircraft which is usually operated for different destinations in European countries.
Prime Minister Sharif often uses PIA aircraft for his official visits, but at present, the national flag carrier is going through its worst crisis because of sudden exclusion of nine ATR planes from its fleet.
The prime minister’s spokesman Mussadaq Malik said the foreign office would bear the expenses of the aircraft the PM has engaged.