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PIA’s privatisation at initial stage, court told

By Our Correspondent
March 02, 2018

LAHORE: The Privatisation Commission on Thursday told the Lahore High Court that the privatisation process of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was at initial stage as cabinet committee had granted approval for privatisation only.

A written reply submitted by a deputy attorney general before the court of Justice Shahid Mobeen suggested consultation with other stakeholders was in process while steps were also being taken for the restoration of the PIA. The court is hearing a petition challenging the proposed privatisation of the national carrier.

A law officer sought more time for submission of the replies on behalf of the PIA chairman and other respondents. The judge allowed the request and adjourned hearing till March 20. Advocate Nabeel Javed Kahloon filed the petition alleging that the government had decided to privatise the PIA and was going to sell it to a company of own choice.

He said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who also owned a private airline in the country had vested interests in the privatisation of the PIA. He said the PIA was an identity of Pakistan in the world and its privatisation would cause an irreparable loss to national exchequer and the country’s image as well.

The lawyer also argued that the PIA had been established under the act of parliament and the Privatisation Commission could not sell it without the approval by the parliament. Referring to previously sold out institutions like Pakistan Steel Mills and PTCL, he said privatisation of the government owned institutions had already caused a great loss to the country. He asked the court to restrain the government from selling the PIA.