Shah­baz to share PIA body de­mands to Prime Min­is­ter

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Chief Min­is­ter ( CM) Shah­baz Sharif has held a meet­ing with mem­bers of Joint Ac­tion Com­mit­tee (JAC) and has vowed to put their de­mands be­fore Prime Min­is­ter (PM) Nawaz Sharif. Chair­man of the com­mit­tee, So­hail Baloch while talk­ing to the me­dia af­ter the meet­ing said that the Pun­jab Chief Min­is­ter heard the mem­bers with pa­tience and the party is re­turn­ing sat­is­fied.

He said that the com­mit­tee held a three-hour long meet­ing with Shah­baz Sharif. Di­a­logue with the Chief Min­is­ter was suc­cess­ful as they are re­turn­ing to Karachi ap­peased, he added. He said that Sharif ac­knowl­edged their right to put forth stance in the is­sue. Baloch said that ul­ti­mately the fed­eral govern­ment would ne­go­ti­ate with the Pak­istan In­ter­na­tional Air­line's em­ploy­ees. Baloch said that CM Shah­baz has vowed to for­ward com­mit­tee's de­mands to Prime Min­is­ter (PM) Nawaz Sharif. They have in­formed the Chief Min­is­ter of their reser­va­tions over Es­sen­tial Ser­vice Act also, he added.

The chair­man quoted Chief Min­is­ter say­ing that the govern­ment does not want to lose the na­tional air­line as it is a na­tional as­set. On the other hand, CM Shah­baz while ad­dress­ing par­tic­i­pants of the meet­ing said that the govern­ment does not want to pri­va­tize PIA for no rea­son, it can­not bear Rs 10 crore loss on daily ba­sis. Dur­ing the meet­ing, the Joint Ac­tion Com­mit­tee put forth its de­mands be­fore the Chief Min­is­ter in mat­ter of protests and strike by the em­ploy­ees of Pak­istan In­ter­na­tional Air­line over pro­posed pri­va­ti­za­tion of the com­pany.

The com­mit­tee de­manded the govern­ment to post­pone pri­va­ti­za­tion of the na­tional air­line by a year. It is worth men­tion­ing here that the govern­ment had ear­lier post­poned the process by six months in re­sponse to protests across the coun­try. The JAC de­manded the govern­ment to­day in di­a­logue with the CM Shah­baz Sharif to shut some routes of the PIA as they al­legedly run in loss due to dinky num­ber of cus­tomers.

On the other hand, PIA has cut ticket prices for Um­rah pil­grims with im­me­di­ate ef­fect. The pil­grims will now be charged Rs 54,500 from the fed­eral cap­i­tal while Rs 44,500 from Karachi. Ear­lier on late Tues­day, the Joint Ac­tion Com­mit­tee had an­nounced to end the strike. Com­mit­tee's Chair­man So­hail Baloch said in a press con­fer­ence that he would be trav­el­ling to La­hore to­day to meet the Chief Min­is­ter of Pun­jab. He said that the na­tional air­line could progress with sup­port of the govern­ment and right lead­er­ship.

PIA em­ploy­ees were on strike against pri­va­ti­za­tion for the past eight days. The strike added around Rs 2.75 bil­lion to the debts of the na­tional com­pany. Flight op­er­a­tions of PIA re­mained sus­pended across the coun­try. Al­most all coun­ters in dif­fer­ent cities were shut halt­ing all ser­vices in­clud­ing book­ing, cargo and courier. Um­rah pil­grims among oth­ers whose visas were about to ex­pire were stuck till to­day. Adding to the mis­ery of the cit­i­zens, dif­fer­ent pri­vate air­lines had hiked ticket prices tak­ing ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the govern­ment an agree­ment was reached with pri­vate air­lines in re­spect of which PIA's irked cus­tomers were to be given al­ter­na­tive tick­ets. How­ever al­legedly, cus­tomers with con­firmed tick­ets were not even en­ter­tained by pri­vate com­pa­nies de­spite the agree­ment, let alone oth­ers. Amidst the tus­sle that went on be­tween PIA's work­ers and the govern­ment, two lives were lost in Karachi. On Fe­bru­ary 2, two work­ers of the air­line who were ral­ly­ing to­wards Jin­nah In­ter­na­tional Air­port from com­pany's head of­fice were gunned down. Sindh Po­lice and Rangers were present at the protest site to counter any re­gret­table in­ci­dent how­ever, the uniden­ti­fied at­tacker suc­cess­fully fled the crime scene.

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