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Archive for March, 2007

Just Flying?

The European Union (EU) has put “operational restriction” on all but 7 Boeing-777s of PIA from flying to any of the 27 EU member countries. Effectively 34 aircraft out of the fleet of 41 (almost 83%) of the fleet can only operate in Asia and Africa (and possibly to the Arctic and Antarctica!). About a year ago EU had given a clear warning to PIA to meet international aircraft maintenance standards, on the management’s failure to act positively EU carried out their threat. The “conspiracy theorists” believe that PIA management have been deliberately negligent so that they could purchase more Boeing-777s, rather simplistic given that newly purchased ATR-50s acquired from France are also banned. That our engineering standards have gone well below their normal average is only partly the fault of the present management. The rot really started when the Engineering Department was decimated in 1998. They have never recovered, it has been downhill since. The EU ban was a disaster waiting to happen, PIA’s once-vaunted Engineering Department now itself needs disaster management. The EU ban not only affects airlines revenues but PIA’s reputation and the morale of the entire organization. What about the major embarrassment for Pakistan as a country, who should we hold accountable?

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Running A Country

Countries of the third world were beggared by the socialist wave that swept the world through the middle of the last century. In hindsight all the towering figures of the non-aligned world of the 50s were not even great politicians, the vision they had for their people was based mostly on grandiose, economically bankrupt plans. In contrast to totalitarian regimes of the communist world, the free market economies of some dictatorships were far more successful, albeit with generous economic help (US AID) from Uncle Sam, the US being the doyen of all capitalist countries. With the aspirations of the people the need for democracy grew stronger, even those leaders were found having feet of clay. One lesson should have been learnt here, in the developed world with its vast economic and industrial base the private sector with its sound management and good business practices kept services and utilities within the buying power of the masses, when free market philosophy is applied in the developing world, it puts an enormous, even back-breaking burden on the common man.

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