I had the opportunity to attend an aviation seminar today. The venue was PAF Museum in Karachi and the occasion: 32nd anniversary of Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
I usually decline such events. But made an exception for two reasons:
One, CAA was a client and I had delivered a five-day course on Aviation Leadership at their residential training facility in Hyderabad a few times during last two years to batches of high-capability and ambitious new hires, who boasted of being appointed on merit and merit alone.
Two, I was an aviation enthusiast. Particularly the shape of future of travel. So, quite keen on a flying car made by Kamra (although they may not listen to me.)
The speaker lineup too was impressive: bigwigs from CAA, PIA, Air Blue, Suparco, Kamra. Loved their sharp speeches. They had considerable clarity on what lay in future.
There was a drone too to amuse me and the 300 elite present in the well-decorated hall.
Also, present were Sindh Governor Ishratul Ibad and Aviation Minister Capt Shujaat Azeem for ceremonial photo-ops, and a bit of talking points.
Minister Shujaat Azeem, familiar with my blogging and social media causes, asked me to come out of my ‘retirement ploy’ and support him in the work he was doing in Aviation Division.
His direct request: be my media advisor. Tell me what needs to change at CAA, PIA, ASF, Met Office. And then let people know when we do that.
His challenge: Since he wants my assistance as of yesterday, and the hiring procedures in public sector may not allow that to happen for months, can I do it pro bono? No salary, no free PIA flights. No plush office, no Green-plated car. Perhaps not even a visiting card.
To up his sales pitch, he said: he too is functioning without any government salary or privileges and pays for his own flights, I too can do. And if he cruises Aviation Div right, in a few months or a few years’ time, the nation will have its premier institutions in much better shape. So pay or no pay, I could help.
Shujaat’s aim: zero tolerance on corruption in PIA, new aircraft, refurbished airports, cutting on losses
The assignment may take a few months until he finds a full-time media advisor, or may go on for years, i.e. if I deliver.
When in 2018 I will look back and see the repercussions of my decision today: Will I regret why I dirtied my reputation by accepting to work with a minister (ministers routinely take blame for all things bad)? Or, will I be a happy man that I helped build or rebuild a national institution?
What do you think? Shall I? Shall I not?
By Wali Zahid – Aviation enthusiast with eye on 2050