The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmakers have urged National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to revoke the notification for the formation of a cabinet committee for the “unconstitutional” privatisation of the PIA-owned Roosevelt Hotel in New York, according to a media report.
In a letter signed by six PML-N members, including Khawaja Asif, Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, Rana Iradat Sharif, Ahmed Raza Maneka, Rasheed Ahmed Khan and Shehnaz Salim Malik, the lawmakers stated that the privatisation of the hotel was against the constitution, financially unsuitable and a waste of public money.
They pointed out that a National Assembly standing committee had questioned the reasons behind selling off Roosevelt Hotel when it is not a financial burden or unproductive.
The standing committee has also questioned the compulsion for selling off the hotel at a time when the tourism and hotel industry were suffering because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The standing committee has also asked whether the government had followed the Privatisation Ordinance 2000 and the relevant law in connection with Roosevelt Hotel, the letter read.
The PML-N legislators said the elected members had taken an oath to defend, protect and keep the constitution functional.
Giving executive powers to the advisers on institutional reforms and trade and investment was unconstitutional, they pointed out.
“According to the Constitution, any such measure is unconstitutional and unlawful from the very beginning,” the letter read.
The PML-N lawmakers also pointed out that the preamble, Objectives Resolution and Article 2-A clearly stipulated that the powers would be used only through the elected people. “That is why oath is not taken from the unelected persons because they are not answerable to elected House, constituency and the authorised public forums.”
The letter further read that Roosevelt Hotel was located in New York, which had been severely affected by the pandemic and the property prices were currently very low in the city.
On Thursday, the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation reversed a seven-month-old legally questionable decision of deciding the fate of real estate jewel, Roosevelt Hotel New York, through a ministerial task force, putting the transaction back on right track.
Headed by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the committee authorised the privatisation ministry to hire a financial adviser for finalising the transaction structure of Roosevelt Hotel, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance after a meeting.
Every successive government, including that of Pervez Musharraf, has tried to sell or give the hotel on lease. The last serious attempt was made during PML-N government’s tenure when the Privatisation Commission had the hotel valuation done by a third party.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has maintained that the government was finding excuses to sell off the assets of the PIA to benefit its frontmen.