ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday made it clear that the primary mandate of the caretaker government was to hold free, fair and transparent polls in the constitutionally defined time limit of 90 days instead of focusing on privatization of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in such a short term. Reacting to the interim government’s privatization plan, PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan said that the caretaker government wanted to tackle the losses being incurred by SOEs by undertaking sale of these entities that raised suspicions on the intent of the present set-up regarding its tenure, besides creating a legal challenge. “The best thing the interim government can do is to expedite the election process and ensure elections are held within 90 days, so that the process of fixing SOEs can then be undertaken by an elected government with a mandate,” he said.
The spokesperson said that PTI believed that the government has no business running businesses. It is in favour of an orderly and transparent exit from these companies through strategic sale of their shares by the privatization commission, but with an elected government in place, he added. He went on to say that given that the interim government’s term was short and its primary mandate was to hold free and fair elections, the only thing they could do was to help SOEs to improve their efficiency and cut losses.
“Focusing on privatization and trying to expedite it in such a short tenure raises suspicions on the intent of the interim government with regards to its tenure, and opens the government up to allegations of impropriety,” he said. This also makes any privatization activity subject to legal challenge, further complicating a sensitive process, he remarked.