KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Leader and Senator Raza Rabbani on Sunday termed privatization process of national institutions by federal government as illegal under Article 154 and said that PPP would strongly oppose that move.
Addressing a press conference at PPP media cell, Rabbani said that under article 154, all institutions which come under Federal Legislative List-II have 50 percent shares each of federal and provincial governments and the apex court had given its ruling in Pakistan Steel Mill case and others that no such institution could be sold out without approval of Council of Common Interest.
He urged chief ministers and members of provincial assemblies of three small provinces- Sindh, Balochistan and KPK to resist this move aimed at looting resources of provinces and bring resolutions against it in respective assemblies.
He said that government had assured foreign funding agencies to complete privatization of PPL and PIA by December 2014 and they would resist the move to privatize national assets to foreign and private companies. “SNGL, PPL, SSGC are strategic national assets and we are not ready to sell them to a foreign or a private company,” he said.
Rabbani said: “SNGL, PPL, SSGC are profitable institutions and there is no need to sell them. Giving details of PPL’s profit, he said that average per year profit of PPL from 2008 to 2013 was Rs 33,069.4 million while the profit of 2013 was Rs 41,951 million. “PPL gives Rs 48,855 million to national exchequer annually and in case of its privatization, the exchequer will be deprived of this amount,” he said adding PPL’s average tax in five years was Rs 70,327 million.
He said that the government was buying new planes for PIA to give a clean chit to the new seller. “We will resist government’s attempt to privatize PIA as several people will be fired after privatization,” he said adding that even today the government is saying there are excessive employees on a PIA plane, therefore, after privatization, they would be fired.
The PPP leader also cast his doubts on the privatization of UBL and said that the Senate Standing Committee on Finance should make a watchdog to oversee the matter of its privatization.
He said that PPP would contact trade and worker unions after Eid to develop a joint strategy against privatization and asked unions to end their ideological divisions and unite for the cause of workers welfare on single platform.
He also intimidated those who were willing to buy these institutions and said that PPP would move courts against their move while the workers on ground would also protest against it.
The senator said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had failed to fulfill its promise of election manifesto to break begging bowl and instead was acting upon the directions of IMF to run the country’s economic affairs.
Rabbani said that it seemed that Pakistan was subordinate state of IMF, which reviewed the economic progress of the country and gave directions on future plan. “In a recent letter of interest by Finance Ministry, assurances were given to IMF for implementing its conditions which included rise of electricity tariff,” he said adding that if NEPRA rejected the rise in tariff, the government would itself implement this decision and the increased amount collection would be then given to IPPs to end their circular debt.
He said that circular debt had reached almost Rs 500 million and the IPPs had threaten to increase load shedding upto 14 hours in the country if the debt was not cleared.
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