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PIA privatisation bill deferred in joint session for three weeks

PIA privatisation bill deferred in joint session for three weeks

ISLAMABAD: The government has deferred tabling a bill privatising Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in a joint session of parliament for three weeks, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Asad Umar said on Tuesday.

A 10-member committee consisting of government and opposition members will be constituted in order to redraft the bill and address opposition concerns, he said.

The opposition is of the view that no PIA staff should be laid off during privatisation, their pensions and benefits should not be affected, and the treatment of the national flag carrier’s assets should be clearly defined.

The move comes just a day after the government was unable to get opposition leaders on board during a briefing regarding privatisation of the national flag carrier.

Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah, while chairing a meeting of opposition parties earlier, said the bill would be opposed outside parliament. The opposition also maintained that if the bill was presented in parliament in the current state, they would oppose and boycott it.

Treasury and opposition benches have been sparring over the PIA bill since February, and it has twice been rejected by the opposition-controlled Senate.

The government then put its majority in the National Assembly to use, getting approved the legislation that would turn the national airline into a public limited company.

The opposition is of the view that by doing so, the PML-N government is paving the way for the airline’s privatisation.

The bill’s statement of objects and reasons says that the government had decided to convert PIA into a public limited company to revitalise the fledgling airline.

But the opposition has been contesting the view, claiming that the government simply wanted to privatise the airline, an impression that has been officially denied.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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