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Senate panel opposes PIA's privatisation

03 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Planning and Development on Thursday opposed the privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and recommended that the government take financial and administrative measures to rehabilitate and revive the airline.

Chairing the committee meeting, Senator Nasreen Jalil said transparency should be ensured before the start of the privatisation process and profitable state-owned entities should not be put under the hammer.

"Steps should also be taken for the revival and rehabilitation of sick units," she added.She said parliament should be taken into confidence on the process of privatisation, as the communication system guaranteed defence and security even in the state of war.

Senator Begum Kulsoom Parveen maintained that the sale of every entity would weaken the country. The PIA has many passengers, so new aircraft should be purchased in order to make it a more profitable organisation, she added.

Senator Haji Adeel claimed that the PIA had intentionally stopped its flights to many profitable international destinations while the 15 percent profit offer to the airlines by the Turkish Air Lines had also been rejected.

Senator Usman Saifullah said even profitable entities were privatised in the world when economies face crisis. He said the PIA could be turned into a profitable organisation by restoring its routes.

Senator Islamuddin Sheikh said intending buyers were eying PIA's precious assets abroad.Chairman Privatisation Commission Zubair Umar assured the committee that parliament, civil society and the media would be invited to take part in the privatisation of any state-owned entity in order to make the process open and transparent.

Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood told the committee that the process for privatisation of 65 state-owned entities, initiated by the previous government, had been started.Supporting the privatisation of PIA, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq said the sale of 26 percent shares will help the airlines to stand at its own feet.

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