The Supreme Court on Thursday declared Air Marshal Arshad Mehmood Malik’s appointment as head of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) “illegal”, saying he could not hold two posts at the same time.
The three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked Malik to choose between serving in the Pakistan Air Force or as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PIA.
“Arshad Mehmood Malik should resign from the air force and permanently join PIA. Only one thing can be done, either work in PAF or PIA,” remarked the chief justice.
The court noted that the national airline required a “permanent chairman” who can run it along professional lines and make it profitable.
When Salman Akram Raja, representing the PIA’s board of governors told the court that former Air Marshal Nur Khan had also worked for the national carrier, the chief justice remarked that “they were big people and should not be compared to anyone”.
Justice Sajjad Ali Shah said that if the court accepted the advocate’s argument, stating that if “the union employees would not let PIA function unless there was the stick of the army”, then the government “should close all its offices”.
The SC also rejected PIA’s report about the missing plane, saying that it had only conducted a “paper investigation”.
The court directed the National Accountability Bureau to continue its investigation into the missing plane.