‘Clandestine’ PIA sale irks Rabbani


ISLAMABAD:

PPP Senator Mian Raza Rabbani on Monday opposed the privatisation of the Pakistan International Airline (PIA), saying being an strategic asset, its sale would compromise national defence.

In a statement, the senator also objected to the cabinet approving the sale despite the fact that “PIA falls in the Federal Legislative List, Part II, of the Constitution; hence, under Article 154, its policy is governed by the Council of Common Interests (CCI). ”The policy approval of PIA’s privatisation should have been taken from the CCI and not the cabinet which is unconstitutional.”

He was of the opinion that in a state of emergency, PIA could be used for defence purposes. “Being given in part or full in foreign hands will compromise national defence.”

Rabbani took exception to the way the privatization process had been carried forward, saying  the process of privatisation of PIA was confined to the ruling elite which was condemnable. “The privatisation seems to be a clandestine operation where the details have not been shared with the elected labour union, the various professional associations or the common employee.”

“The details have been shared with the IMF, while even parliament is kept in the dark,” he added.

He posed the following questions to the government; i) what is going to be the treatment of the various prime properties owned by PIA in different cities of Pakistan? ii) what is going to be the treatment of the various properties and hotels owned by PIA in foreign countries? iii) what is going to be the treatment in terms of the job security of the regular employees of PIA? iv) what is going to be the treatment with the cockpit crew? v) what is going to be the treatment with retired employees in terms of their pensions?
He asked the government to rethink the privatisation process and form a parliamentary committee to examine it and urged the PPP to give a clear line to its elected labour union in PIA.
 

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