27 نومبر، 2014

PHC asks PIA chairman to explain reduced flights to Chitral

 

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) issued a notice to the chairman of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Thursday, asking him to explain the decrease in number of flights to Chitral and the increase in airfares.

The division bench of Justice Irshad Qaiser and Justice Muhammad Younis Thaheem issued the notice while hearing a petition filed by Muhammad Aminul Hassan, through his counsel Mumtazur Rehman.

The petitioner sought an increase in the number of flights to Chitral and reduced airfare.



The counsel for the petitioner told the court there were three flights a day to Chitral up till 2008 and PIA was charging Rs2,210 at the time. Ticket prices were kept low because Chitral remained inaccessible by road for six months of the year due to heavy snowfall.

He added Chitral falls under Malakand Division, a tax-free zone, so the cost of flights was nominal. He further contended the only way to get to Chitral by road was through the Lowari Tunnel, which remained closed during winter.

Rehman pointed out to the court that the cost of flying to Karachi from Peshawar is Rs7,477, cheaper than the ticket to Chitral, despite the fact that the port city is further away than the valley.

The bench was further informed that business in Chitral was affected by snowfall and residents needed to be treated as per Article 4 (Right of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with law, etc) of the Constitution.

The court was requested to reduce the cost of flights to the prices of 2007. The petitioner also sought an increase in the number of flights to Chitral from different cities of the country.

After hearing the preliminary arguments of the petitioner, the court directed the PIA chairman to submit his comments before the next date of hearing and explain his position.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2014.

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