PIA will rise and shine, Nawaz vows

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DOHA: PM Nawaz Sharif addressing Pakistani Community. INP PHOTO
  • PM promises to transform national flag carrier into world-class airline, says PIA will be brought at par with Qatar Airways
  • Sharif invites Qatari businessmen to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan
  • Says bilateral trade volume would be increased to $1,000m from $300m

A couple of days after strikers of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) called off their anti-privatisation protest, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday his government would work towards bringing the national flag carrier at par with Qatar Airways.

“Now that PIA workers’ strike has ended, we will work towards bringing it at par with Qatar Airways” the premier said in his address to Pakistani community in Qatar’s capital of Doha.

Sharif said the national airline could be brought to the level of the state-owned flag carrier of Qatar, Qatar Airways – voted the world’s best airline at the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards.

The premier’s statement comes a day after scoring a victory against the unions of PIA. The JACPIAE called off its strike on Tuesday after eight days against the government’s decision to privatise the PIA. The strike saw cancellation of hundreds of flights.

PM Sharif said that Pakistan wanted to further strengthen the friendly relations with Qatar in diverse fields. “We want to promote relations with Qatar in trade and investment. Pakistan will have access to cheap electricity through LNG [liquefied natural gas] import as we are taking all measures to bring the country out of darkness,” he added.

On Wednesday, Pakistan and Qatar signed an agreement in Doha, according to which Pakistan will be provided with a billion dollars’ worth of LNG annually as part of the PM’s two-day official visit to the Arab country.

Sharif said that bilateral trade relations between Pakistan and Qatar were very low and there was a need to boost them. He said the trade volume would be increased from $300 million to $1,000 million this year.

The PM further said that the projects relating to solar and hydro power were being initiated to ensure availability of electricity, adding, “I will also soon lay foundation stone of Karahi-Lahore motorway.”

Sharif said the country’s economy had been turned around and the gains made over the past few years had also been appreciated by the world financial institutions. “Only two-and-a-half years ago, Pakistan was on the verge of becoming a defaulter country but now is on the path to progress,” he said, adding it was something to take note of that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves were on a record level now. He also said that to cease functioning of industries and deprive local consumers of electricity was not a service to the country and all the previous governments should have thought about it.

About the counter terrorism operations, Sharif said Pakistan had successfully broken the backbone of terrorists as a result of the operation Zarb-e-Azb. He said that Pakistan’s security situation was improving while peace had been revived in Karachi, the country’s financial hub.

About the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, the premier said the project would bring prosperity not only to Pakistan but also to the entire region. He said the network of railways was being upgraded while state-of-the-art Gwadar port and airport would be built under the CPEC.

He invited overseas Pakistani to invest in Pakistan in the various fields, adding that the government was making the rules and regulations easier so that the investors should not face any difficulties. PM Sharif said the government was giving attention to the education and health sectors and better results were coming out.

Meanwhile, PM Sharif, while talking to Qatar Investment Authority CEO Sheikh Abdullah Bin Muhammad Al Thani, invited Qatari businessmen to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan, saying Pakistan offered most attractive incentives for foreign direct investment in different sectors particularly in the energy sector.

Sharif said Pakistan was an agricultural country having vast fertile lands and Qatari businessmen might invest in the agriculture and livestock sector as well.

Talking to Royal Family member Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad, PM Sharif said the LNG agreement would strengthen Pakistan-Qatar relations. Pakistan, he added, attached immense importance to its close and cordial relations with Qatar and wanted to further diversify and promote them. The Qatar Airways chief executive officer also met with PM Sharif.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Mr Prime Minister politicians are problem to PIA. I'm sure PIA can rise and shine if you and your ministers stop inter-fairing with government departments, can you find some one who can run a fleet of 40 planes?

  2. What the PM said sounds positive and rosy. But hard to digest what he said of the economic progress during the two and half yeadrs. There is no end to shadow of terrorism, no end to power crises, exports decreased, Loans increased, Billions of added tax for the poor masses, tax-net is static, Foreign exchange is siphoned out of the country in billions – to mention a few problems. We have to be honest with ourselves and not say what others can not digest.

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