Union bodies divided on PIA privatisation

LAHORE - Different associations of PIA employees have expressed their different point of views on privatisation of the airlines, Peoples Unity of PIA employees (CBA) backed by PPP and Jamaat-i-Islami have rejected the decision while PML(N) backed Air League has welcomed the decision. President of Air league, Ahmad Butt said that decision of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to privatize 26 percent shares of PIA would give a new life to PIA. He was of the view that PPP government committed corruption, made illegal appointments and received commissions in PIA pushing the airlines to the brink of destruction. He was addressing a ceremony held in connection with distribution of promotion letters to PIA employees. Butt said that though destruction of PIA started from the government of Musharraf but PPP government set its records in corruption and irregularities in PIA. PPP government was handed over 48 operational planes by the Musharraf government but PPP government has handed over to PML(N) government only 18 operational planes.
PML(N) government has made 26 planes operational. He said that at present airlines was facing monthly loss of Rs 3 billions.
During former tenure of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif there was negligible loss of PIA. During Musharraf government it was Rs 39 billion and after 2008 this loss has surged to Rs 156 billion. Adding to this PPP government made illegal recruitments in PIA in hundreds. He said that there was no harm in privatisation of PIA since at international level 3o to 32 percent shares of the airlines are privatised. Butt said that those making hue and cry against privatisation were in fact enemy of the airlines. Office bearers of Peoples Unity took out a rally from CBA office PIA complex to Lahore airport and chanted slogans against privatisation. President Peoples Unity, Sajid Gujjar said that it was anti-employees decision and unity will never accept such decisions.
Meanwhile, an Eid Milan party and general body meeting of PIA Retired Employees Association (PIAREA) was held here the other day.
The general body meeting was presided over by Syed Tahir Hassan, President PIAREA. All speakers viewed that PIA should not be privatized due to various genuine reasons. Meanwhile, a resolution was unanimously passed demanding that Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif should not privatize PIA.
There is no doubt that political interference, nepotism, corruption, mismanagement etc. are the root causes of airline’s destruction but privatization is not the solution. Government should bring reforms and take initiatives for the revival of the airline. Government should convene a meeting inviting all unions of PIA for consultation and consider all proposals and recommendations presented in the meeting. PIA should plan its flight schedule using operational aircrafts.

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