PIA privatisation postponed for six months

RAWALPINDI: PML-N Senator Mushahid­ullah Khan announced on Friday that the government had postponed the privatisation of the national flag carrier for six months and requested the protesting workers to end their strike.

Addressing a press conference at the Aviation Division here, he said neither the PIA was being privatised nor its employees being sacked or their facilities withdrawn.

The PML-N leader warned the protesting employees that the government would use its authority against all those elements who had locked the airline offices without any reason.

He said the government would not get blackmailed by any protest and it had made the decision “in the larger interest of workers and the country”.

He also requested the joint action committee of PIA employees to hold talks with the government to resolve the issue.

The senator said that due to ongoing closure of PIA offices by its employees, the government was suffering a huge loss.

He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said that neither the PIA was being privatised nor perks and privileges of its employees were being withdrawn or employees being sacked.

Mr Mushahidullah asked the joint action committee of PIA employees to withdraw its decision of the strike and resume flight operations, otherwise the government would use its authority and impose the Essential Services Act, if PIA employees did not call off their strike.

Meanwhile, a high-level meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, reviewed the impact of PIA employees’ strike on Friday.

A spokesman for the PIA said it was agreed at the meeting that the government expected PIA union leaders to support the organisation’s management in reviving the national flag carrier so that the good work done over the last two and a half years was taken forward.

The meeting decided that no PIA employee would be laid off or lose financial perks and privileges and they would continue to enjoy job security.

It was further decided at the meeting that strategic partner would not be engaged in the next six months and PIA should work hard during this period to improve its performance.

The meeting observed that because of the strike the people were suffering and the organisation was also incurring losses of billions of rupees. This situation, the meeting noted, was bringing a bad name to the country and its reputation. This situation could not be tolerated, the participants noted.

The meeting pledged that it would not be blackmailed by PIA unions and associations and if the strike was not called off, the national flag carrier would be declared a part of essential services by the government.

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