PM sees political parties behind PIA strike

Published: February 3, 2016
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif believes that some political parties are backing the national airline’s strike, causing losses of Rs100 million per day.

The premier told the media on Tuesday that the Essential Services (Maintenance) Act was extended to the Pakistan International Airlines to improve the performance of the national flag carrier.

Govt bans union activity to prevent PIA strike 

However, politicking is underway in the PIA, he added. “And it is going on with the backing of some political parties. Should we not check it and improve the situation?”

PM Nawaz said passengers face hardships due to the airline’s poor service and the poor condition of its fleet. “Should we ignore it?” he asked, and then responded himself: “It will not happen at all!”

He said the protesting employees would face action, and warned them of termination from service and a year in prison under the essential services act. “Any concession to such elements would be unfair to the country.”

The premier, however, added that the PIA employees who were not part of the protest campaign would be rewarded.

Referring to the statement of National Assembly opposition leader Khursheed Shah, who described the government’s decision to extend the essential services act to the PIA as a ‘dictatorial decision’, PM Nawaz said PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had also extended the act to the airline in 1976.

PM approves Essential Services Maintenance Act for PIA

Earlier during the day, three PIA employees were shot dead during the protest against the government’s plan to privatise the ailing national airline.

Protesters accused law enforcers of firing after a ‘confrontation’ that broke out when the PIA employees were blocked from approaching the Karachi airport.

However, a spokesperson for the Rangers and a senior police officer denied that any of their personnel had fired.

Meanwhile, the interior ministry has slammed politicians’ criticism of the law enforcement and security agencies.

“They put their lives at risk for the protection and safety of the citizens,” said a spokesperson for the ministry. “Issuing political statements against them without any proof is not appropriate.”

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan expressed sympathy with the families of the employees who lost their lives or were injured during the protest. Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid also expressed sorrow over the killings and condoled with the bereaved families. Rashid pointed out during a news conference in Islamabad that it was not yet known who had fired the shots, Radio Pakistan reported.

Protesting PIA workers will lose job or face jail, warns PM

State Minister for Privatisation Muhammad Zubair, who was also present on the occasion, said the government had deferred the plan to seek strategic partnership of the PIA for six months with a view to placating the employees. 

Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2016.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Pakistan
    Feb 3, 2016 - 8:25AM

    Only three Parties behind PIA strike: PML N ANP and JUI F.Recommend

  • Baby Ka Husband
    Feb 3, 2016 - 11:18AM

    @Pakistan:
    You are right because they will benefit by parceling PIA among themselves. We all know it but NS and his brothers hide behind shadows. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Feb 3, 2016 - 1:30PM

    PML-N tried to do the right thing ( sell PIA ) but did it the wrong way ( not transparent and engineered so that the nation picks up the deliberately created debt to justify a sell off )…….political parties especially PPP-Z who were instrumental in PIA’s collapse are seeking political mileage out of the strike.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Feb 3, 2016 - 2:51PM

    The Prime Minister of Pakistan is known in his inner circle for poking his nose in every institution and conflict as well, which earned him the exile in the past life. Is PIA and not his military adventures in KPK and Baluch going to become the deciding factor for his second exit?

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Feb 3, 2016 - 4:39PM

    PIA, a political hiring ground. Jobs of thousands of people were restored during the last PPP government and this is on record. privatization is the only solution, its not government job to run businesses.Recommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQUE
    Feb 3, 2016 - 5:11PM

    @Parvez: PML (N) cannot do anything transparently, they are out a make a buck out of every misery……..Recommend

  • Feb 3, 2016 - 5:17PM

    we have vision less PM. Nobody is behind PIA strike, they just want jobs without doing anything.Recommend

  • Dash
    Feb 3, 2016 - 7:11PM

    Cover photo says it allll…..Excellent pick up by Tribune :DRecommend

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