PIA privatization to harm national interests: moot told

Karachi: The privatization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) would harm the national interests, said noted economist Shahid Hasan Siddiqui. Addressing a seminar on “Privatization of the national flag carrier may destabilize the country”, at Karachi Press Club (KPC) here on Wednesday evening he said the privatization of the national flag carrier would be a national tragedy.

He termed the privatization process in Pakistan the root cause of corruption. He suggested a well-tailored bailout package will convert the PIA into a profitable national organization within just 18 months. He said it is an open secret that the privatization process has failed in Pakistan due to lack of transparency.

Dr Siddiqui suggested forming of a Judicial Commission to reviewing the performance of privatized institutions in Pakistan. He regretted that the present government was also following the policies of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi chapter amir Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman said his party will not allow the rulers to sell national institutions for peanuts. He that the labour class will bring a revolution in Pakistan and JI fully support their struggle against the privatization of the State owned entities. He lauded the efforts of Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Employees Union (PIACE Union) and other related trade unions in this regard.

Naeem strongly condemned the privatization of 26percent shares of PIA. He said the privatization would only bring more poverty and price hike. He regretted the present government has already eliminated subsidy on gas and electricity.

Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) leader Taj Haider said that the privatization of national flag carrier would be an unconstitutional and unlawful act. He said his party strongly rejects the privatization of PIA. He said collective efforts are imperative to get the privatization of PIA stopped.

He asked the PIA workers to devise an alternate plan for revival of PIA and present it before the government. He asked that more profitable routes should be introduced and “open-sky” policy be reviewed in this regard.

President PALPA Sohail Baloch, President ATOP Najeeb-ur-Rehman, President CBA Peoples’ Union, PIA Hidayatullah Khan, President Cabin Crew Staff Nasrullah Khan Afridi, Saleem Multani and Secretary General PIAC Union Ubaidullah also spoke.

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