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'PIA's plight is no different from AI'

Former Pakistan aviation minister and ex-chairman of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was in Mumbai to participate in an aviation meet, said that the plight of PIA is no different from Air India’s.


Prey of politics: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was imprisoned by the General Pervez Musharraf government, as he was the Chairman of the PIA, when Musharraf's plane was denied landing at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi on his way back from Sri Lanka on October 12, 1999

Currently a member of the Pakistan’s National Assembly, Abbasi blamed excessive political interference for the same. Speaking to MiD DAY, Abbasi said that Pakistan's national carrier is facing similar problems like Air India. “Be it poor decision-making, purchase of equipment — the problems are similar. Besides, too much political interference is hampering the growth of both the airlines,” he said.

Advocating promotion of Low-Cost Carriers (LCC), Abbasi said growth of this sector is the need of both Pakistan and India. “Despite a huge scope for growth, the LCC sector is struggling. India is a bigger market, and has a lot of aircraft compared to its infrastructure. While Pakistan has bigger space, we don’t have much aircraft,” Abbasi quipped.

When asked about the deteriorating relations between the two countries, Abbasi said that it is very unfortunate that people of both the countries have to suffer following the political disagreement. “Despite strained relationships, the governments should allow people-to-people contact,” he said. An optimistic Abbasi added that although it may take some time, the Indo-Pak relationship would definitely improve.

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