Thursday, 19 June 2014

Shaheen On The Rocks

He was seated behind me in the Business Class of PIA’s Boeing 777. Probably finding the leg-space insufficient, he took off his shoes and placed both the feet on the rear of my seat. As my own seat shook several times, I irritatingly asked the stewardess who that bare-footed style icon was. “Sir, he’s Mr Khalid Shehbai, the CEO of Shaheen Airlines”, she replied.

It was quite enough to see Mr Shehbai from a distance; I decided to maintain the mileage and wondered why he was not flying his own airlines. The service trollies came and went but he took no food or drinks. With a paper napkin placed over his face he remained busy throughout the flight reading a book, quite oblivious of others around him.

Many decades ago Allama Muhammad Iqbal wrote: “Nahi tera nasheman qasar-e-sultani kay gumbad par; Tu shaheen hai basaira kar paharon ki chaton par”. As a Muslim poet he wished to turn all his wingless co-religionists into independent eagles by taunting them thus: “Not on the dome of the royal palace is your nest. You’re an eagle, live atop the mountain’s rocks.”

Everyone heard Iqbal's poetry; after all he was a British knight. But times have changed and today many in this ‘land of the pure’ have again become lame ducks so in love with the dome of the White House in Washington.

For now we have a shaheen (eagle) of another variety—a Boeing 737 of the Shaheen Airlines, to be precise—whose engines did not transport it to Iqbalian heights but rather caused rocks to fall upon its metal body at Sialkot international airport. Whenever Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) suffers an accident or incident, the mass media proudly defames the national flag carrier. Why, you ask? Because there was a time when journalists got free tickets from PIA’s public relations department; now apparently they do not, hence the hostility.

Other airlines that operate in Pakistan appear to have an arrangement with an 'authority' that gives them preferential treatment when it comes to landing, taking off and parking. Of course the national flag carrier, PIA, invariably queues behind others to suffer delays and additional fuel expenses. The examples are too numerous to quote here but something sinister is going on against PIA.

Every news channel and publication boldly mentions PIA’s name (qaumi airlines) in senseless ‘breaking news’ strips but almost never names other airlines. For others they always use the vague descriptive ‘private airlines’ (nijji airlines). Something is very wrong with the media because it loves to clobber PIA which is a government-owned corporation.

The TV channels regularly save the private and foreign airlines all the embarrassment; hence the picture always appears bleak whenever PIA is mentioned. A case in point: despite the passage of over ten days, the mass media has not reported Shaheen Airlines’ incident at Sialkot airport. This is what happened.

The Shaheen Airlines Boeing 737 shown in the accompanying pictures required its engine to be changed. On 6 June 2014, a mandatory engine run-up was carried out after obtaining permission from the control tower. Instead of conducting the test over a properly paved asphalt surface, the aircraft engineers opened up take-off power right on the tarmac area.

Sialkot’s tarmac, just like Peshawar’s tarmac, is paved with tiles; an odd replacement for asphalt which is traditionally used for the purpose. It is said that an airlines from the U.A.E paid for the work at Peshawar. It is possible that the same or a similar foreign operator paid for the Sialkot job too. The industrious citizens of Sialkot built this airport without the government’s assistance; it is possible they had a sponsor cough up cash to pave the tarmac with ordinary cement tiles.

PIA is now walking on one leg because she has never fought back aggressively to regain lost revenues. Thanks to the bald brilliance of the Open Sky Policy of a thrice-elected Prime Minister, PIA is now being robbed in broad daylight at a much faster pace. Millions of tons of cargo and thousands of passengers are stolen from under PIA’s nose all because those who control the airlines refuse to equip expand the dwindling aircraft fleet.

And why will PIA not buy more planes? Because the kickbacks are bitterly fought over at various levels while dictations are accepted from foreign white masters who always push their dark commercial agendas. Who will dare to favour European Airbus airplanes when American-made Boeings have so much political and military clout behind them?

The gentlemen handling this Shaheen Boeing 737 should have known better but they did not. Opening up take-off power on jet engines caused not only damage to the aircraft, it made a fine mess of the tarmac’s surface. Those who witnessed the incident said it first felt like an earthquake, a dust-storm appeared from behind the engines, and this was followed by a wave of flying tiles that rained upon the aircraft’s surfaces.

I need not say more; the matter is under investigation. Or has it been air-marshalled into official silence?

©Tahir Gul Hasan 2014
Photos 1 through 9 were shot by the author, the rest (without the watermark) came from an anonymous source.


TGH said...

Helen Tobias. August 5, 2014 at 8:29 AM

Well! It is quite funny how the CEO sit like that. Anyways It was a big fun for me to read this whole pos

TGH said...

TGH. June 20, 2014 at 7:24 AM

I believe the CEO expired a while back so we need to forget and forgive him for his STYLE.
As for a prediction, if they privatized PIA, how would the ruling elites ENJOY all the 'free-dumb' aboard the airplanes? Probably PIA will keep crawling along.

TGH said...

Asad Ahmed. June 20, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Privatization and the transfer of management to whoever buys it would be the best thing for PIA and it's employees (read workers not free loaders). Reign of 'ayaashi' by the workers unions & the Govt. ministries would hopefully finish. Govt. and khakis would start coughing up money to travel (no free loading). This is the real reason for people not wanting to privatize PIA.

TGH said...

Anonymous. June 21, 2014 at 2:13 AM

WTF, CEO of an Airline sits like this then what do we expect from others.

TGH said...

TGH. June 21, 2014 at 3:12 AM

Asad, mind you, behind this 30% shares' scam is a group leader who somehow gets lucky every time something is being privatized. Privatization is NOT the cure for all ills. The oily Sheikhs own so much in the UAE and they call it benevolent dictatorships. Will they let other non-royals share the game? It's a cruel world indeed.
PIA's excess baggage needs to be dumped without a doubt but then look who's running the show!
The hungry ones would like to grab PIA's assets, sell the routes and transfer the liabilities to the government which will in turn recover the losses through more taxation. The story is not so simple; there are wheels within wheels.

TGH said...

Asad Ahmed. June 21, 2014 at 9:48 AM
Privatisation is not the choice of the Govt.(Ministry of Defence) or any leader. It was thrust upon them by the IMF and very rightly so. The MOD & others still do not want to let go the golden goose which once upon a time used to lay golden eggs. Nowadays they are just rotten eggs.So whoever is in the Govt. has to play by the rules, they don't have a choice. The privatisation decision was taken during the previous Govt. So now even if angels like Imran Khan or the soooper angel Tahir lul Qadri come into power, they have to abide by the decision.
The FACT is that PIA does not have assets any more. The routes are pledged, the aircrafts owned by banks and other lending agencies. Nobody in PIA & the Govt. wants to tell people of this REALITY(reasons of 26% privatization).

TGH said...

TGH. June 22, 2014 at 3:16 AM

Don't we all know the IMF/WB economic hit-men? They're everywhere spreading corruption, owning all assets through money-lending.
I know what you mean but there's always a way out. Why can't we learn from Iran and Russia? Even India is back in the Russian fold while being friends with Umreeka.
The tables can turn without a moment's notice. While the employees are uncertain about pension and other prospects, the cake-slicers are busty carving up state-owned 'dishes' for the bankers.
God is always on the side of the genuinely oppressed. Those who do right never need to fear or grieve. THIS, my frend, is His Promise.

TGH said...

Majumdar. June 29, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Tahir mian, Looks like you took a long break. What happened, sir?
Btw, is there a mail ID where I can contact you?

TGH said...

TGH. June 30, 2014 at 6:57 AM

Maj dear, i need to recover from shocking bits of truth once in a while. My email address is:
Thanks and talk to you later. I hope you're doing well in this heat.

TGH said...

Anonymous. July 3, 2014 at 3:26 AM

Hello Tahir,
Have been really busy in London. I am in Glasgow visiting my niece . Finally read your new article today. A good read . I think PIA should buy new air crafts now , as the current condition of our air crafts are pathetic and deteriorating day by day, and we are losing on passengers , of course due to our bad governance.
You are so right about it, the media is playing its part and the truth is never revealed and it is hidden from people .
The corruption is at its peak and no one is bothered, again you are so right the ruling elites are enjoying !!!
May be if a chance is given to a new person , suppose if Imran Khan, he can bring lot of changes and give an economic boost to our country.We have seen that the present so called government is not doing anything right.
What recently happened at Karachi airport is so embarrassing and shameful .
What is going to happen next no one knows?
Take care,

TGH said...

Anonymous. July 18, 2014 at 4:37 AM

Tahir Sir, Majumdar wants to bring you to desibukbuk like Chowk so you can be subjected to the most vile shit by the most miserable bigots and idiots out there, you know who this is, and so does Majumdar

BTW, As expected, without any evidence and not even a motive to back them up, not the black box or even examining the wreckage, the U.S. is blaming Russia and stating that a missile took the plane out, much like it did regarding 9/11 when it pulled the names of the "perpetrators" out of a hat with no survivors or eye witnesses, less than 24 hours after the event. Under cover of this CIA false flag, Israel launched its ground invasion/butchery of Gaza and we hear nothing of the massive carnage that is ongoing. The imperialists, even though their actions might take the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation, will fail like they have in Iraq and Afghanistan.

TGH said...

TGH. July 18, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Maj dear, as I clarified earlier, please keep both of us clear of that BUK-BUK. I don't know why Asadi is wasting his brain cells over there.
We need to move forward. I mean, your analysis is spot-on about this Umreeka Vs Roos (THEM against all US Asians).
Keep interacting and stay happy and hopeful. Do your bit too.

TGH said...

Majumdar. July 21, 2014 at 2:48 AM

Tahir mian, compared to the other MH incident, this seems to be a much more straight forward affair. Al CIAda engineered this incident with an eye on turning world opinion against Russia. Seems to have failed miserably.

TGH said...

Anonymous. July 22, 2014 at 11:12 AM

The link between Malaysia Airlines MH-370 disappearance and the CIA shooting down of MH-17
The disappearance of flight MH-370 was only a symbolic disappearance much like the symbolic annihilation that the Western media forces on people by constructing a very narrow view of the world and making the better part of it literally disappear from consciousness. This was an amazing, and quite unique event, where a large plane disappeared because the West does not want it to be found. Both planes were diverted from their original flight path, and both were shot down by fighter jets.
Disappearance of MH-370 was trial run for the (now) MH-17 shooting down by the CIA since MH-17 had been planned as a false flag to shift results in a major political conflict much like the use of 9/11 by the U.S. to attack Iraq, How we see the world is constructed by the Western media, they say disappear, and the plane disappears and nobody question how unreasonable such a disappearance is and how it makes absolutely no sense.

This is your anti-PMA chowk friend.

TGH said...

TGH. July 22, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Thanks for your insightful comments and welcome to my own space.
I guess I've already written more than I intended to write about MH370. It's sad that I must now follow it up with a story on MH17. May God destroy the killers of innocent passengers.
What do you mean by anti-PMA? And just who might this 'friend' be from (God-forsaken) Chowk?

TGH said...

Anonymous. July 24, 2014 at 2:36 AM
...the one you mention in your reply to majumdar

TGH said...

Majumdar. July 25, 2014 at 4:15 AM

Tahir mian, I am surprised you didnt get it that it was Masadi sb. Only wonder why he is writing as anon, it would be wonderful if he is a regular poster here.

TGH said...

TGH. July 25, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Maj I can't force 'M' to always appear as he truly is; he might have his reasons to remain 'covered' across the Atlantic.
I can smell people whether they're far or in Hindia.