“I have complaint to my parents why they rescued me by taking to hospital; I don’t want to live in this world. Since last seven months I am displaced, I was living in a rented house that was vacated by the owner through court case. My father is heart patient having small children. I am living in someone else’s home, only God knows our grievances. I don’t want to give tension to my father and can’t see the condition my parents were living in. That’s why I decided to die; I was unable to help them out. But I want to tell one thing to my CEO PIA Arshad Malik and Saqib Nisar (former Chief Justice, Supreme Court) the way they ousted from service and murdered us. I will again attempt to kill myself; I don’t want to live in these circumstances. I can’t face and fight the conditions we are living in. But want to tell them once again that we are helpless people and nobody can do anything against you except Allah Almighty who will make you accountable for each and every crime you committed. I will suicide again, some others may also follow me; and both of you would be responsible for our murders not only here but hereafter too.”
These are the words of Minahil Saba, former airhostess of Pakistan International Airlines lying on hospital bed in Karachi after she was rescued from attempted suicide on September 6, 2019. She was sacked from her cabin crew service under the fake degree allegations leveled by PIAC management during past year.
It may be mentioned here that under the rules and regulations if any PIA employee found guilty of misconduct or convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude, the competent authority may impose on him/ her one or more of the following penalties:
- Withholding of annual increment(s) for a period not exceeding three (03) years
- Fine not exceeding five (05) percent of the basic pay
- Recovery from the pay of the whole or any part of pecuniary loss caused to the Corporation by negligence or breach of any discipline
- Reduction to a lower scale in a time scale for a period not exceeding three (03) increments
- Demotion/ Reduction to a lower pay group and cadre
- Compulsory retirement
- Dismissal from service
However, PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik, who took charge in October last, has so far fired thousands of the airline employees without acting upon the above rules.
The Chairman, Senate Standing Committee on Aviation had already called PIA management to take disciplinary action against officials who inducted employees without verifying their documents first, before firing staff with fake degrees. Instead of terminating the service of staff possessing fake degrees, other disciplinary actions should have been taken, such as demotion or stopping increments, he had argued.
The Senate Standing Committee on Aviation had inquired Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) management why the airline had decided to sack employees with valid degrees and on whose instruction was this unfair action taken. The sacking decision was not taken on merit by PIA management.
The Committee observed that PIA management while scrutinizing the cases of fake degrees, had not considered all the cases on merit and it was proved that some were awarded major penalties whereas few were given minor punishments on similar charge and even some were given double punishment despite having genuine degree.
It was also observed that in all meetings of the Committee in which fake degree issue of employees was considered, PIA management was not convincingly able to clarify the position whether the actions were in lines with the decisions of the Courts, directives of Establishment Division or decisions of PIA management. The Committee therefore, advised airline management to furnish the detail on each case which clearly indicates the authority/ decision on which the action had been taken.
Keeping in view the difficulties of employees specially of those who were working for PIA since last many years, Parliamentary body advised the management to re-consider and review all such cases including cabin crew and low cadre ground employees as per previous induction policy on case to case basis and decide their cases by taking the lenient view on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
In pursuance of the above directives PIA management announced the names of members of a Review Committee to deal with all complaints of the sacked employees. But practically this Committee was so far failed to produce any result or pacify the aggrieved employees who were bread earners of their families like air hostess Minahil Saba. Hence, PIA management and the Government authorities may deserve to hear some more tragic news of suicides by dejected employees in coming days.