Govt Wants To Fast-Track PIA's Privatisation

PM says government will support the ailing national flag carrier until the process is complete

Govt Wants To Fast-Track PIA's Privatisation

The federal government has decided to expedite the process of selling off the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines.

This was decided in a meeting held on Monday to review the airline's financial health. Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar chaired the meeting.

During the meeting, Kakar stressed finalising the privatisation of the struggling airline. He also sought regular compliance reports over the privatisation process.

Until the airline is sold, the premier said that the airline needs to be supported by the government. 

He said that state-owned enterprises struggling or operating at a loss will be offloaded from the national exchequer.

The meeting was attended by interim federal ministers, including Shamshad Akhtar and Fawad Hussain Fawad, Adviser on Aviation Air Marshal (retd) Farhat Hussain, and officials concerned.

Monday's meeting came amid reports that the national flag carrier was beset with a crippling fuel crisis which saw 77 flights cancelled after the state-owned fuel supplier cut supply due to non-payment of dues. This was the second time in a week that the PIA lost its fuel supply.

The cancellation hit flights on domestic and international routes, adding to the airline's financial woes.

Another 61 flights scheduled for Monday, including 42 international and 19 domestic, could also be affected by the crisis.

PIA is said to be suffering a massive loss of Rs750 billion. 

Some within the organisation suggest that the current crisis has been artificially created as part of a conspiracy to ease the sale of state silver.

PIA Senior Staff Association General Secretary Safdar Anjum, in a series of posts on social media, decried the alleged conspiracy. 

Accusing the caretaker government of acting as a silent spectator in destroying a national asset, he said that it seems the interim government's sole job is to privatise the institution.