PIA privatisation postponed for six months

Islamabad, Jan 30 (IANS) The Pakistani government has postponed the privatisation of its national flag carrier for six months and requested its protesting workers to end their strike, a senator said.

PML-N Senator Mushahid­ullah Khan on Friday said neither Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was being privatised nor its employees being sacked or their facilities withdrawn, Dawn online reported.

The PML-N leader warned the protesting employees that the government would use its authority against all those elements who had locked the airline offices without any reason.

He said the government would not be blackmailed by any protest and it had made the decision “in the larger interest of workers and the country”.

The senator said that due to the ongoing closure of PIA offices by its employees, the government was suffering a huge loss.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said that neither the PIA was being privatised, nor the perks and privileges of its employees were being withdrawn or employees being sacked.

Meanwhile, a meeting chaired by Sharif on Friday, reviewed the impact of the PIA employees’ strike.

A spokesman for PIA said it was agreed at the meeting that the government expected PIA union leaders to support the organisation’s management in reviving the national flag carrier so that the good work done over the last two and a half years was taken forward.

The meeting decided that no PIA employee would be laid off or lose financial perks and privileges and they would continue to enjoy job security.

It was further decided at the meeting that a strategic partner would not be engaged in the next six months and PIA should work hard during this period to improve its performance.

The meeting pledged that it would not be blackmailed by PIA unions and associations and if the strike was not called off, the national flag carrier would be declared a part of essential services by the government.

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