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Capt Shujaat Azeem

AVERTING APOCALYPSE!

Two well-armed groups of militants penetrated separate entry points at Jinnah International Airport Karachi at around 11 pm on Sunday night, killing 5 ASF personnel in the process. Nineteen good men, 11 belonging to ASF, laid down their lives to save the honour (and future prosperity) of this nation. Charred bodies of 7 workers were recovered from a cold storage facility 26 hours later. Many seriously injured are still in critical condition. Alerted by the firing, ASF men at their posts on the tarmac forced the militants to take cover in a relatively deserted part (at that time) of the Airport (Shaheen, Ispahani and Gerry Hangars). Given crucial time and space, ASF’s Quick Response Force (QRF) reacted well to contain the militant’s intent and capacity for death and destruction.

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Dangerous Games

Far better than Asif Ali Zardari except in the one that counts in Pakistan, pragmatic common-sense politics, Mian Sahib is genuinely popular among the electorate. Zardari is (and was) not, nevertheless he deftly cobbled together a coalition government and kept most of them happy most of the time. Being subjected to blackmail by his political partners from time to time was only a temporary inconvenience, duly assuaged by requisite sums of money and privileges.

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Reviving PIA

To quote my article “Keep PIA flying” (June 20, 2013), “Facing multiple crises simultaneously – most of them man-made – Pakistan’s workforce and institutions remain amazingly resilient. Beset by extraordinary interference over the years, both during military and civilian rule, PIA continues operating thanks to the competence of its core staff, for this miracle one must give credit to PIA’s pilots, its cabin crew and ground engineers, its management and ground staff.” It would seem incongruous to now claim that in the 60s and 70s PIA was one of the best airlines in the world, that happens to be the stark raving truth. Selected on merit its employees were a cut above the rest in all senses of the word, as a corporate entity PIA once a model for others. PIA’s pilots and cabin crews still rate among the best in the world, that its ground engineers and maintenance staff have kept the ageing aircraft flying safely is a tremendous feat by itself.

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