ISLAMABAD: Federal Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan says at least 3,200 job opportunities have been created in or under the Aviation Division for provision of employment to the youth. “This is to serve the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said while talking to The News.
The minister said rehabilitation of runways, taxiways & aprons at the Saidu Sharif, Chitral, Rawlakot and Muzaffarabad (Azad Kashmir) airports has been done for tourism licenses.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the national aviation policy 2019 has been launched and license for tourism promotion and regional integration (TPRI) has been issued. He said separation of regulatory and service provider functions of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has been executed.
The groundbreaking of New Gwadar International Airport was performed by the prime minister on March 29, he said.
Similarly, the minister said upgradation of airfield lighting systems at Gwadar and Quetta airports has been carried out and upgradation of the Faisalabad airport has been completed. Clean and green movement has been introduced at major airports of Pakistan.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan said operationalisation of British Airways from Islamabad has resumed, which shows the confidence of foreign airlines in Pakistan. Installation of primary and secondary radars at Karachi and Lahore airports has been done.
About the Pakistan International Airline (PIA), the aviation minister said that its business plan has been prepared and submitted for approval.
Profitable routes, including Sialkot-Sharjah, Islamabad-Doha, Lahore-Muscat, Sialkot-Paris, Sialkot-Barcelona, Multan-Sharjah, Peshawar-Sharjah and Peshawar-Al-Ain have been started, he said.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that cost reduction measures have been put in place to lessen the PIA losses. Two grounded aircrafts of PIA have been operationalised to generate revenue of more than Rs6 billion per year. He said that 30 percent increase in PIA revenue has been achieved during January-June, 2019.
Regarding the Airport Security Force (ASF), the minister said that money laundering equivalent to Rs263 million in different foreign currencies has been stopped and attempts to smuggle 4,139 kilograms worth of Rs343 million gold have been foiled.
The ASF, he said, seized narcotics and drugs of all kinds weighing 285 kilograms and 14 litres liquid ice heroin. It also made recoveries of 385 weapons of all types and 14,027 ammunition. Joint search counters have been set up for facilitation of passengers. Ghularm Sarwar Khan said that 34 automatic weather stations (AWS) have been indigenously manufactured at the low cost of $5,000 as against open international market value of approximately $25,000 for the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).
He said that weather radars at Lahore and Sukkur have either been upgraded or installed with the Japanese collaboration. Automation and upgradation of 42 observatories in Punjab and Sindh has been done for fast data sharing. New weather radar has been installed at PMD Headquarters in Islamabad to get improved short-range forecasting for 3 to 10 days.
The minister claimed that the government will prudently handle the planned protest of Jamiat Ulemae Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. He said trying to agitate in Islamabad is meant to damage Kashmir cause and using the religion for his vested interest.
He said the objectives of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) sit-in was very clear while the reason behind the JUI-F’s Azadi March is imprecise–whether it is for Kashmir or against the incumbent leadership. He added that the government will support Fazlur Rehman for staging a sit-in on the Line of the Control (LoC).
Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that when Fazlur Rehman was chairman of the Kashmir Committee, he did nothing for the Kashmir cause but only enjoyed the government honorarium and housing facility during the previous tenure.