- Says political parties interfering in federal government’s affairs by politicising PIA issue
Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid said on Saturday the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has always respected the mandate of other political parties and never interfered in their affairs, but this attitude was not reciprocated by them, particularly in the case of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
The minister said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was introducing reforms in the health sector and had started privatisation process of hospitals despite opposition from doctors, but the federal government did not interfere in its affairs since it was a legitimate and elected government.
“The political parties should have reciprocated such an attitude, but by politicising the PIA’s issue they are interfering in the federal government’s affairs,” Rashid said while addressing a ceremony marking the first anniversary of a private television channel. He said the elected governments had to make their decisions by themselves as public gave them mandate for reforms.
The minister said he received numerous calls from people during the last three days who had suffered due to the strike of PIA employees. “People could not reach their destinations to attend funerals of their loved ones, family functions, job interviews or other engagements due to the ongoing strike,” he added.
“The PIA is a service-oriented organisation and the common people are suffering due to the suspension of its services” he said, adding the national airlines’ assets were being eroded.
Rashid said the government wanted revival of the PIA and that was why it had increased the number of its aircraft from 18 to 38. On the contrary, some 700 employees were performing duties against a single plane in the past having average age of over 20 years while flights were always delayed causing inconvenience to customers, he added.
The minister said the government was committed to revive all the non-profitable organisations. The previous government of Pakistan People’s Party and Musharraf regime had done nothing for the revival of the national flag carrier, but the PML-N government took this task upon itself to make it a profitable organisation, he added.
According to the minister, majority of the PIA shares will remain with the government since it is the real owner of its assets for holding majority shares. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had himself guaranteed that there would be no layoff in the PIA, but nothing was made positive from the other side.
Rashid also said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf spokesperson Naeem ul Haq had posed trust in Minister for Privatisation Muhammad Zubair and hoped that the PIA’s issue would be resolved through dialogue. He also urged the media to highlight the problems of people instead of creating sensationalism and presenting news as per their own desires.
Officials of PIA, National Accountability Bureau, Islamabad Police and Managing Director Associated Press of Pakistan Masood Malik were also present at the ceremony.