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SC seeks PIA’s explanation on complaint by women crew

ISLAMABAD, Feb 13: The Supreme Court has directed Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Chairman Tariq Kirmani to explain the airlines’ position on a complaint by some women cabin crew against ‘derogatory and insulting’ treatment by the corporation.

Deputy Attorney-General Nahida Mehboob Ellahi told Dawn that 98 women cabin crew members through a complaint signed by six staff members, had invited the attention of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to alleged discriminatory attitude of the PIA administration against the women cabin crew in asking them to go on forced leave for “biased and absolutely meaningless reasons”.

The bases of their retirement allegedly include dull and poor appearance, scars on face, gap in the front teeth and the age factor affecting looks.

The application was taken up by the chief justice in his chambers and the airlines administration was directed to submit a report on the complaint by

Feb 21.

In the three-page application, the complainants have pleaded before the chief justice to direct the airlines to withdraw the insulting remarks as well as the letters of forced retirements, calling the women to immediately join their duties.

They claimed that they had been appointed through a proper procedure and the factors had never been pointed out at the time of their selection.

The job prerequisite was fitness, skills and training, they said.

The complainants said the administration was recruiting foreign nationals in their place from countries like Japan, Thailand, Kenya, Russia and Greece, offering monthly remuneration of $5,000, compared to Rs15,000 to Rs20,000 being paid to them. They alleged that a majority of the foreign crew could not communicate in English.

The administration was discriminating against women crew members, imposing forced retirement on them at the age of 45 in violation of judgments of the superior courts, they complained.

Source: Dawn

Date:2/14/2007

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