Devising a Growth Strategy for Pakistan (3): What Would You Do With PIA?

Posted on February 10, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Economy & Development, Law & Justice
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Adil Najam

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?

Any ideas?

(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.)

25 responses to “Devising a Growth Strategy for Pakistan (3): What Would You Do With PIA?”

  1. sheepoo says:

    PIA is an extremely inefficient organization: just look at the employee/aircraft ratio. The World standard is somewhere between 90 to 100 whereas the figure for PIA is in excess of 400.

    I suggest that the PIA Unions be banned with immediate effect and PIA be privatized. There are a lot of nikammay employees in PIA who have been hired for political reasons. They need to be fired at once. This, I think,is the only viable option for PIA.

    Just my 2 cents!

  2. ASLAM QAYUUM says:

    This is not about PIA as much about this government. They have lost so much trust with people that even when they do right things, like cutting PIA staff, there is resentment against them.

  3. Privatisation and Benchmarking. My two cents.

  4. Ally says:

    Sorry that should read

    our country can’t afford these…

  5. Ally says:

    It needs to be privatised… it is a burden on the Quomi Khazana and now they ask to be baled out US$1.7 Billion…. Thats just ridiculous why on earth should that amount of money be spent on only 40,000 Pak citizens?

    How many schools and hospitals can we get with that much? how many kids can we lift out of poverty? How much can we improve the ground realities of our country with that much money, instead of giving it to them!

    It really angers me, not just PIA but all the other money guzzling big corporations that take from the average person (through the national exchequor).

    If no one wants to buy them then just give them away, do whatever it takes to stop them being a major drain on Pakistan’s dwindling money supply.

    Our country can afford these companies, we need to sell them off and put that money into educating ALL of our kids. Having a coherent national education policy and training teachers. That money can also be used for more health centres and training nurses and doctors in the rural areas.

    I can’t believe our govt. and their priorities… education should be the number one priority for our country as well as a massive adult literacy campaign so that EVERYONE can read and write and knows the benefits of educating their children.

    Let a proper airline executive run PIA while our government does what its supposed to i.e. Govern!

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