ISLAMABAD - The Senate Sub Committee on PIA, probing the sale of air bus 310 to a German firm in violation of rules, was informed on Tuesday that the name of former CEO, a German national, was removed from Exit Control List (ECL) on the order of the then interior minister on a letter from the Foreign Office.

The committee with Senator Farhatullah Babar in the chair met at the office of Secretary Civil Aviation Division in the PIA complex and attended by and senators Nauman Wazir, Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, secretary Civil Aviation besides officials of PIA, interior, defence, FIA and others.

The meeting was also informed that under directions of the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly the case has since been referred to the NAB for inquiry. Besides the FIA has also taken notice and started its own investigations.

The Civil Aviation secretary said that the sale of the aircraft in question had been stopped and that it was still the property of the government of Pakistan. However, he said that negotiations for not charging the parking fee for the aircraft were still going on.

The committee members were surprised at the glaring flaws in the tendering process while neither the Director Procurement nor the CEO PIA had the authority to finalize the sale and move the aircraft outside the country, to Germany.

The committee noted that when the former CEO PIA Bernd Hildenbrand failed to return to Pakistan after the expiry of one month period the Interior Ministry wrote to the FO to take up the matter with the German Embassy in Islamabad on whose guarantee and commitment the permission had been granted.

"We will demand of the Foreign Office to produce the written commitment/ guarantee given by the German Embassy and ask whether and when it took up the matter with the German Embassy in Islamabad and what was the response of the embassy?," Senator Farhatullah Babar said.

"We must not let the former CEO escape from answering some searching questions about the attempted sale of the aircraft," he said.

"If someone gave guarantee on his behalf the guarantor must be held accountable and if there was no such guarantee then the officials responsible for allowing the ex CEO to leave the country must be held accountable," he said.