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open skies

Setting up a Homeland Security Command

One is proud of the will, courage, commitment and sacrifice of our 34th PMA Sri Lankan course-mates, they fought terrorism for over 25 years through Sri Lanka’s darkest period. My good friend Maj Gen (Lucky) Wijayaratne, who when commanding 1st Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLI) at Panagoda “inducted” me into his battalion, was killed in action. When Prabhakaran and the remnants of his Tamil Tigers were ultimately cornered by the Sri Lankan Army in 2009, the Indian Foreign Minister demanded the offensive be stopped to allow them safe passage. Poised to eliminate the bloody scourge that had turned their island paradise into a hell with the help of India’s Research & Analytical Wing (RAW), the Sri Lankans flatly refused.

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Keep PIA Flying!

Facing multiple crisis simultaneously, most of them man-made, Pakistan’s workforce and institutions remain amazingly resilient. In many ways PIA is symbolic of the nation it is the national flag carrier of. Beset by extraordinary interference over the years, both during military and civilian rule, thanks to the competency of its core staff PIA is still operating. For this miracle one must give credit to PIA’s pilots, cabin crew and ground engineers, and most of its management and ground staff.
Rs 32 billion loss during 2012 (overall Rs 100 billion during the PPP regime) and US$ 2 billion accumulated debt puts the govt into a potential no-win situation. PM Mian Nawaz Sharif constituted a four-member committee to restructure and reform PIA. Separating Aviation Division from the Ministry of Defence (why was it there in the first place?), he tasked them with examining the challenges being faced and recommend remedial measures and proposals thereof. Federal Secretary Defence Lt Gen (Retd) Asif Yasin Malik successfully contained further erosion during his short tenure as ex-officio Chairman PIA, his observations would be helpful.

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