Chitral Today (chitraltoday.com) Report
CHITRAL: The waiting hall of PIA’s spacious office in Chitral is bustling with people of all colours, gender and ages. It seems that they all have the urgency in getting a seat on the very next available flight to run out of the valley.
Most of the ticket-seekers have already managed to make reservations for the day but majority of them are clutching some sorts of papers – some are patients or have to take their sick relatives to big hospitals in the cities. Others have recommendations (Sifarish) from higher authorities like a minister, an MNA, MPA or DCO and DPO something. It testifies that getting a PIA ticket and that too on time is the most difficult job in Chitral and needs connections in power corridors if not at the PIA office itself.
Slowly and steadily the rush subsides and those having succeeded in getting the most sought-after paper are gone to be worried about the next day’s adventurism. Most of the time the flight does not come and the poor souls undergo trauma of another day or weeks shuttling between the airport and the town hotels.
It also shows how the PIA staff is under pressure to accommodate all ticket seekers and to distinguish those in real need of urgent air travel but without any Sifarish and the ones who otherwise can travel by road; and at the same time avoid being punished at the hands of power that be.
While judging the performance and honesty of the PIA staff, we should look at other departments working in the area as well. It is for sure that if not managed and put a tab on their working, corruption and wrongdoing would thrive at the PIA office also. However, there have been almost negligible complaints against the PIA Chitral staff and if any that related to failure of passengers to get tickets for the nday of their choice.
In a given circumstance and looking at the limitation of available flights and tickets, such types of complaints can be ignored by the people concerned as well as the authorities in the national flag carrier.
District Sales Manager PIA, Mr Haleem Khan says he always tries his best to accommodate deserving people purely on merit and especially takes care of those coming from the far-off areas.
Many people visiting the PIA office for the first time acknowledge that it is humanly impossible for the staff to accommodate the rush of passengers and that too keeping in view the erratic flights conditioned by the ever changing weather.
Some people in Chitral town say due to good performance and ability to run the office affairs efficiently, the District Sales Manger, Haleem Khan has managed to stay put in the post for over ten years. This is perhaps a record for PIA officials in the PIA Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Passengers who have had chanced to try to get tickets at the PIA office Peshawar narrate long tales of corrupt practices there. “They openly ask for Chitrali patti, caps and even dry fruits in return for timely tickets irrespective of rush of passengers,” a Chitrali passenger said. Despite complaints no action has ever been taken against the officials, he added.
He said looking at the working and attitude of the staff at Peshawar, the PIA Chitral staff was doing a wonderful job and the credit for this goes to the district sales manager who has kept tabs on his subordinate officials and directly interferes and deals with the ticket seekers whenever necessary. Such officials deserve to be appreciated and rewarded for their work, they added.– Javed Karim