Govt unmoved on PIA’s privatisation despite employee union’s opposition


Joint Action Committee of PIA Employees’ Union (JACPIAE) on Wednesday failed to convince the government side to withdraw the Presidential Ordinance regarding converting PIA into a public limited company, but their protests forced the PIA’s management to postpone its board meeting.

“The committee met with Aviation Secretary Mohammad Irfan Elahi, Senator Mushahid Ullah and other top officials of the government in the last two days in Islamabad but is still waiting for the minutes of the meeting,” Joint Action Committee Head Captain Sohail Baloch told media personnel.

Sources inside the airline revealed that government officials including the prime minister had already refused to withdraw the Presidential Ordinance which had converted PIA into a limited company.

The JACPIAE has called an urgent meeting of the Union leaders for today (Wednesday) night against government’s initiative and to discuss new strategy against the proposed privatisation and the Ordinance.

On December 22, PIACL Chairman Nasser NS Jaffer assured the Union leaders that all demands of the employees would be discussed in a meeting with the government committee set up by the prime minister regarding the privatisation issue.

The airline sources further said that the government was going to take up PIACL issue regarding the Ordinance in the National Assembly for approval in Thursday’s session. According to the law, the government has to approve Presidential Ordinance in National Assembly and later from the Senate within 40 days.

As the government has a majority in the National Assembly, it may get the Ordinance approved in the Lower House, but PPP has a majority in Senate where they can block the measure.

Talking to a private TV Channel on Tuesday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that the government had to sell 26 per cent of its shares in the PIACL to a strategic partner and in this regard the government policy was very clear.

There is a pressure of the IMF on federal government to privatise PIACL and other government entities before the end of this fiscal year and it is one of the conditions of the IMF for granting loans under its Extended Fund Facility.