As we continue with our series on devising a new growth strategy for Pakistan, one cannot but think of the PIA fiasco being played out at airports all across Pakistan. Part of any growth strategy would be dealing with institutions like PIA, deciding what to do with and to them, and taking and implementing some tough decisions. Take a look at Pakistani airports today and you will realize that tough decisions are tough everywhere, but much tougher in Pakistan today. And, frankly, there are many good reasons why.
As everyone remains consumed in the politics of the moment around the PIA stoppage and strikes story, we wanted to invite you to look beyond the moment. What would YOU do if you had to manage PIA, reform PIA, and how would (and should) this figure into Pakistan’s new growth strategy?
In some ways PIA is a really good example because it effects so many of us in very real and immediate ways. Certainly, it does for me – I am supposed to fly PIA from New York to Lahore early next week and at this time wondering what is in store for me. But the problems are bigger than our immediate discomforts. Indeed, the deal with the Turkish airline and the reasons for the current management woes and strikes are all indicators of rather than the real cause of the malaise.
PIA is a storm that has been brewing up for a long time – chronically bad management, over-staffing, politicization, inefficiency, a culture of entitlement, creeping technical incompetence, infrastructure falling apart. None of this is new and none of this will go away even if the current strikes are “resolved.”As far back as November 2006, we at ATP were asking: ‘Can PIA Survive?’
So, what will it take to really and truly “resolve” the PIA crisis within the context of a national growth strategy?
(Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series on Pakistan’s New Growth Strategy – see first two, here and here. The Planning Commission of Pakistan has invited ideas and suggestions on this and we invite and encourage our readers to please help in highlighting the best and most innovative ideas they can think of. Have your say.)