FAISALABAD: Following the promulgation of Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Conversion Ordinance on Saturday, scores of PIA employees staged a demonstration on Monday to express their resentment against the government’s decision to privatise PIA under an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a loan programme.
The protesters shouted slogans against the ordinance and demanded that the decision to privatise the PIA be withdrawn.
Gohar Muneer Mukhi, president of the PIA Employees Air League, led the demonstration. “PIA is a profit-oriented airline which offers affordable domestic and international air travel…It contributes to the national exchequer.”
Mukhi condemned the government’s decision to turn the profit-oriented state-owned-enterprise into a company. “It does not bode well for the government.”
He said PIA employees had laboured to maintain high standards for PIA. “That is why so many people repose confidence in the national carrier.”
Mukhi said if the government was bent on privatising the airline, it should take all stakeholders, especially PIA’s 18,000 employees into confidence. “Or else, we will strike for an indefinite period and hold massive demonstrations throughout the country.”
Under the loan agreement with the IMF, Pakistan has agreed to invite investors for privatisation of 26 per cent shares.
Media advertisements are to be placed before the end of this month and the sale concluded by June next year.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2015.