Govt has brokered deal to sell PIA to UAE rulers: PPP senator

Published: December 8, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The government has brokered a deal through a close relative of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to sell Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to Abu Dhabi rulers, Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, former finance minister, claimed on Monday, terming the on-going privatisation process a facade.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senator claimed that the motive behind issuing a Presidential Ordinance to privatise the airline was to facilitate a deal that the government has already struck with the Sheikhs of Abu Dhabi.

PIA workers decry executive ordinance for privatisation

Mandviwalla remained finance minister for a brief period during the last PPP tenure and currently heads the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue.

The government on Monday also increased PIA’s authorised share capital from Rs30 billion to Rs54 billion after it converted the Rs23.6 billion loan to the airline into equity.

“This deal has been brokered by Chaudhry Muneer, a relative of PM Nawaz Sharif and Shujaat Azeem, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Aviation,” claimed Mandviwalla.

National carrier: PIA workers decry executive ordinance for privatisation

He said the Supreme Court of Pakistan has questioned the appointment of Azeem as a special assistant to the PM, ordering to remove him. He requested the apex court to take a suo motu notice of the privatisation plan and give a stay order.

The senator’s statement may give a new twist to the PIA privatisation, which could undermine the government’s efforts to sell the airline by June next year under a condition of the International Monetary Fund.

He gave the statement just 48 hours after the government promulgated an ordinance to remove the legal hindrance to PIA privatisation.

PIA privatisation: As IMF deadline looms, govt to bypass parliament again

He said the ordinance is an indication that the government was feigning transparency in the privatisation process. He urged that a judicial commission should conduct an audit prior to privatisation.

Furthermore, he pressed political parties as well as workers’ unions to protest against the on-going deal, as he contends that it goes against the national interest and there was no representative of labourers present to oversee the deal.

Mandviwalla claimed that the government has already struck a deal with a Gulf airline. “In my view, the privatisation transaction has already been done and rest is just formalities,” he said while talking to The Express Tribune.

He said the government has already unofficially conveyed this to the financial advisers hired for carrying out the transaction.

Privatisation Commission Chairman Mohammad Zubair was not available for comments

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th,  2015.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • Rumormonger
    Dec 8, 2015 - 10:05AM

    PIA needs a good “Sheikh”.Recommend

  • Khan
    Dec 8, 2015 - 10:15AM

    If Emirates & Etihad airlines can give attractive offers, discounts & cheaper tickets in exchange of PIA takeover then that’ll be great deal!!!Recommend

  • Awais
    Dec 8, 2015 - 11:07AM

    It is Sheikhs of Abu Dhabi or ruler of Dubai ?? what wrong in privatization apart from these union mafia now have to work to survive…..
    Yet it’s sad to see one who made Emirates and Etihad are being sold to them… Recommend

  • ibs
    Dec 8, 2015 - 11:12AM

    Please allow Etihad to takeover PIA, they will run it better and we will even see lower fares!Recommend

  • Mastuj
    Dec 8, 2015 - 11:38AM

    And so what? Sell the damn thing – we can’t manage it anyway. Recommend

  • NY
    Dec 8, 2015 - 11:50AM

    Look who is talking; The frontman of world’s most corrupt politician. The real pain is that he is not getting his share in this deal.Recommend

  • roadkashehzada
    Dec 8, 2015 - 11:51AM

    lets not politicise privatisation of steel mill and PIA. even if u dont get a penny from them, give money to buyer and get rid of these white elephants. surely IF managed well they can be great assets for country but we couldnt manage it for 30 yrs so better let them go at whatever price.Recommend

  • Khan
    Dec 8, 2015 - 11:55AM

    PIA absolutely needs to be privatized, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of Gulf Arabs taking over since they will completely destroy Pakistan’s aviation industry. They have already destroyed competition into Pakistans airports because they overwhelm our skies with their flights. Pakistan needs competition, and when the Gulf airlines are taking over, then we will end up with an Arab monopoly over our skies. So please, when you fly out of Pakistan, pick any airline other than the Gulf Airlines, because we need competition in our skies. Recommend

  • Khan
    Dec 8, 2015 - 11:55AM

    PIA absolutely needs to be privatized, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of Gulf Arabs taking over since they will completely destroy Pakistan’s aviation industry. They have already destroyed competition into Pakistans airports because they overwhelm our skies with their flights. Pakistan needs competition, and when the Gulf airlines are taking over, then we will end up with an Arab monopoly over our skies. So please, when you fly out of Pakistan, pick any airline other than the Gulf Airlines, because we need competition in our skies. Recommend

  • kk
    Dec 8, 2015 - 12:19PM

    This could be the best thing that happens to PIA, to be bought and run by Dubai walas, the same people who run Emirates. The 500 something people that are employed by PIA and their relatives are the only ones who will protest . Sell it off please and make life easy for poor passengers.Recommend

  • Frank
    Dec 8, 2015 - 12:30PM

    The point that the PML-N geniuses on this website aren’t getting is that there is supposed to be a transparent bidding process to get the best price, not a secret deal by relatives of the Prime Minister. Is the electorate of Pakistan now totally braindead?Recommend

  • Qasim
    Dec 8, 2015 - 12:34PM

    All we need is a reasonable person like Air Marshal Malik Nur Khan.Fly Emirates is contributing 30% to the total Economy(12% of which is from out-bound flights if you’re thinking about Tourism as a factor).

    Counting on conventional Textiles & Agriculture as our Economy’s backbone in 2015 when you’ve proven sectors like Aviation at your disposal is disappointing.

    Mr. Khan would’ve never done itRecommend

  • Irfan
    Dec 8, 2015 - 12:58PM

    Give me the command of pia in 1 year I’ll make it profitableRecommend

  • asim
    Dec 8, 2015 - 1:56PM

    Because Dar 2nd home is UAE; what happened with PTCL privatization?Recommend

  • Parvez
    Dec 8, 2015 - 2:01PM

    If so that’s good…….if not one must find out who exactly are these so called ‘ Abu Dhabi Rulers ‘.Recommend

  • Saud
    Dec 8, 2015 - 2:36PM

    Privatization will save billions that are going into keeping the airline afloat, improve quality of service to passengers and increase competition in the industry resulting in lower fares. PPP inducted thousands into PIA as political appointees. It is trying to save them and keep doors open for future corruption by scandalizing the privatization deal. Privatization is a key component of PMLN’s election manifesto, calling it a result of IMF pressure is naive.Recommend

  • FAZ
    Dec 8, 2015 - 3:47PM

    PIA employees should not remain in the hallucination PSM were. We all remember the celebrations the day PSM privatization was halted by the Supreme court. Now they get the months salary after three more months pass without pay and wonder if would have been better if PSM was in private hands of any Shaikh, Saith sahib or whoever!Recommend

  • Aziz
    Dec 8, 2015 - 4:28PM

    It is poetic justice for Zardari and the PPP. They are the architects of PIA’s ruin just like Pakistan Steel. Now the thought of flying to Larkana from Karachi via Dubai seems to haunting them.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Dec 8, 2015 - 4:51PM

    By the time the Sharifs decide to leave the power, the country will have been mortgaged or sold, depriving the coming generation of any assets.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Dec 8, 2015 - 5:26PM

    @Rumormonger:
    Indeed, PIA needs a good sheikh as we have already one good example of PTCL :) Recommend

  • Shakil Ahmed Khan
    Dec 8, 2015 - 5:30PM

    So basically PPP wants its share of kickbacks!Recommend

  • Imran
    Dec 8, 2015 - 5:32PM

    Most people here dont realize demotivation level of PIA employees. One who works holds no fear and will be happy to work under new system without political interference. The problem here is seems to be the lack of trust of employees for the government.Recommend

  • Sultan Durrani
    Dec 8, 2015 - 6:01PM

    Don’t worry one by one each & every strategic asset of the nation which are essential for the country will be sold to Dubai walas at throwaway prices. Why cant they run their assets without corruption.Recommend

  • Amir
    Dec 8, 2015 - 6:39PM

    Good, at least there will be rationalization to make PIA profitable. Talking about rationalization, PPP in its tenure inducted 1000 of people into PIA. So no wonder they are going to scream foul.Recommend

  • bash gul
    Dec 8, 2015 - 6:47PM

    We seem to be overlooking some things. Most of the wealth gained through corruption and the protection and protocol given to our political leaders, ministers are stashed in UAE. So our government would stoop to any level so that their UAE hosts do not feel offended and protect their ill gotten wealth. Thats the reason there is never transparency in any dealings, e.g. privatization, LNG, power project, Eurobonds etc.Recommend

  • Azmat Ali
    Dec 8, 2015 - 6:54PM

    As long as whoever takes over PIA or Pakistan Steel Mills, promises to run them until they become profitable or 10 years, whichever comes first, I will be more than happy to give them away for free. Imagine the billions in Rupees saved that are wasted on these entities, each year. Put that amount into Education / Health and we can probably see some truly good results. Recommend

  • mirestan
    Dec 8, 2015 - 7:51PM

    Karachi use to be main hub of East. Now no airline except Arab airline comes to Karachi. Corruption has destroyed us. PIA will survive as feeder airline for the main Arabs airlines. This is simple truth.Recommend

  • charles
    Dec 8, 2015 - 8:03PM

    The only thing credible in this article is the likelihood of Sharif using a relative to help sell PIA – just another way of getting a kickback. However – nobody has explained why “Abu Dhabi rulers” would have any interest in buying PIA.Recommend

  • Naeem Khan
    Dec 8, 2015 - 9:23PM

    There is nothing wrong in privatizing the national air line because it has a drain on the national treasury and the ruling class has been using it like their own air line. The problem is the way Nawaz Sharif and his family is doing it. I wonder how much kick back his family will get out of this deal. The most prudent way is to sell it on open market with transparency in mind. Nawaz Sharif and minions did not become billionaires with honesty and transparency. Since the birth of Pakistan, we have not seen any politician with the exception of few who has not looted the country and stashed the looted wealth in foreign countries. When they do this kind of corruption then the foreign intelligence services black mail them and then they start working for their interests instead of Pakistan’s interest. THE FAULT LIES WITH THE PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN WHO SEND THESE CORRUPT AND DYNASTIC PEOPLE TO ISLAMABAD IN THE FIRST PLACE. AS LONG AS YOU PEOPLE SELECT OR SO CALLED ELECT THESE THUGS, THEN DON’T COMPLAIN BECAUSE YOU DESERVE THE GOVERNMENT YOU CHOOSE. By the way this rubber stamp President was chosen to do what Nawaz Sharif wanted him to do, and, let us not even talk about this incompetent and nefarious so called elected National Assembly. Every body is looking out for their own self preservation and wants to get 10 folds returns what they have invested in the elections. It is amazing that Pakistan survived up till now. Recommend

  • Engineer Ilyas Khan
    Dec 8, 2015 - 10:27PM

    Goodbye to PIA’s 7 hours direct flights between London and Kara hi, Lahore and Islamabad. The Airlines would eigher be merged wighEtihad or reduced to a feeder airline dumping all Pakistani traffic at Abj Dhabi hub for onward journeys. The prize asset of PIA is its 10 weekly prime-time landing slots at Heathrow, each worth 25 million pounds in open auction as Heathrow landing capacity is full. So it would be its parent airline landing here rather than at Gatwick or Stanstead at present.Recommend

  • Engineer Ilyas Khan
    Dec 9, 2015 - 1:01AM

    Also goodbye Gilgit-Baltistan folks wishing to fly from Gilgit and Skardu to Islamabad and Pakistan. No private Airline is going to operate in Disputed Territories as no Insurance company will cover the risk , apart from the small matter of a hugely loss making operation sector run in national interest. The Army and Air force do not have transporters to run a civilian operation. But who cares when instant commission is huge.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Dec 9, 2015 - 2:25AM

    @charles:

    Because the arab Sheikhs want to buy anything which moves. The smart thing for the Sharifs would be to sell off their ancient loco motives to the Chinese, who could turn them into high speed carriers within the county, reducing the use of air transport in the country. .

    Rex Minor Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Dec 9, 2015 - 3:29AM

    PIA is a small fry, the present Government have already sold Pakistan to Saudis, US Israel and their allies because the interest and investment of present rulers is outside PakistanRecommend

  • Clockboy Ahmed
    Dec 9, 2015 - 7:27AM

    Arab biradar comes to rescue.
    Now we will be treated badly the moment the flight takes off from Islamabad, no time wasted there. Before we had to wait till we land in Abu Dhabi to be cursed by the UAE Customs guys.Recommend

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