Islamabad (April 12, 2018): The Supreme Court of Pakistan has halted the privatization bid of the Pakistan International Airlines and said that the government should take the apex court into confidence before privatizing the institution.
The decision came from the chief justice of Pakistan, who was heading a three-member bench hearing a case pertaining to privatization of the national flag carrier in the apex court on Thursday.
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Soon after the hearing resumed after the adjournment till afternoon, the court barred the government from privatizing the institution and summoned the terms of references for the formation of a commission, which would inquire into the airline’s alleged privatization and ascertain reasons for its accumulation of losses.
The court later adjourned the proceedings for two weeks.
Earlier in the day, during the proceedings, the apex court directed to place names of all managing directors of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in service during past 10 years on Exit Control List.
When the hearing resumed today in the morning, the chief justice asked as to where were all of the managing directors of the last 10 years who had caused losses to the airline in their tenures.
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To this, the counsel of PIA told the court that except one of the MD from Germany who also took away a plane with him, all of them are in the country and some of them have also come to the court.
The chief justice directed all the MDs present in the courtroom to stand at the rostrum and said that the names of all of the managing directors from the last 10 years should be included in the exit control list.
“Make sure none of them is allowed to leave the country,” he directed.
The court also summoned all advisers of the PIA during last 10 years by evening in the courtroom and adjourned the proceedings till evening.Earlier the counsel of the national flag carrier presented the audit report of last nine years and on a query regarding the privatization of the airline told the court that 96 percent of the shares are still with the government and only it has the power to take decisions.
Responding to a query, the counsel informed the court that current value of PIA’s share stood at Rs5. He informed that the PIA suffered a loss of Rs44 billion in 2013, Rs37 billion in 2014, Rs32 billion in 2015, Rs45 billion in 2016 and Rs44 billion in 2017.
Earlier on Wednesday, the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has categorically denies any plan for privatization of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) and vowed PIA will be restored rather privatization.He expressed these views while meeting with PIA labour union Air League as the PIA situation and upcoming referendum were also discussed.
The PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, federal minister Mushahidullah, defence minister Khurram Dastgir, Pervez Rashid and State Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb were also present on the occasion.
According to sources Nawaz Sharif assured the office bearers of Air League that government had plan to reinstate the PIA rather privatization, however he admitted that government could not implement its plan regarding PIA reinstatement as the huge deficit of PIA inherited from previous government.
“We minimize the PIA deficit after taking the government and raised the various steps for its restoration as PML-N wants to see PIA a strong institute and to get this purpose we will pave it on the path of success,” he said adding that PIA was the national asset and it will be make better.He directed the workers to make all out efforts to get success for Air League in upcoming election considering it as mini election.
“You must raise the slogan of sanctity of vote and hope Air League will get success,” he directed.
It is pertinent to mention here that On April 1, the Supreme Court took notice of PIA’s decision to give up profitable routes to other airlines and the intended privatization of the airline.
On March 31, the court ordered a bar on new appointments in the airline and also issued notices to defence minister, chairman PIA and federal government.
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The court has sought the details of the profit earning routes which were closed in last six months. Court naming defence minister, chairman PIA and federal government as respondent issued notices for appearing before the court on next hearing.
On March 07, the federal cabinet approved privatization of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), more than two weeks after a related cabinet panel gave the go-ahead to privatize the loss-making airline.
The approval was granted during the cabinet’s weekly meeting presided over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.