The Privatisation Commission’s Board of Directors have decided to privatise three key state enterprises including the national airline PIA on priority basis, while the opposition parities have strongly disapproved this decision and has decided to challenge government’s move in the court. A meeting of the Privatisation Commission was held in Islamabad to review different issues of the government’s policy over different state enterprises’ privatisation. Chairman Muhammad Zubair chaired the meeting. The meeting decided to privatise 26 percent shares of the PIA and launching appointment process of the financial advisor in this regard. The board also approved strategic privatisation of the National Power Construction Company and Heavy Electrical Complex . Privatisation Commission’s board issued directives for launching privatisation process of these state enterprises and protecting rights of the employees. All arrangements will be made on priority basis to make sure transparency of all steps of the privatisation. On the other hand, the country’s major opposition parties have strongly disapproved the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government’s move to privatise the public sector entities (PSEs) and are set to challenge it in court, besides resisting in parliament. The opposition parties mainly Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are set to lock horns with the government on its approval for giving go-ahead in the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and other forums. The opposition factions, after PML-N government’s formal indication to privatise 31 PSEs, had expressed annoyance and decided to strongly resist the idea to ‘save’ thousands of poor workers. The government on ( October 3 ) had finally decided to initiate the process of privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and other public sector entities, as committed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “We will definitely challenge this cruel decision in court. This will not prove beneficial for the country at any cost,” said leader of opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah. Shah said he had also written a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about disadvantages of privatisation of PSEs of the country. “Pakistan is not same like America and Europe where privatisation proves favorable for the country and people,” Shah said, adding that institutions are assets of country so it should not be treated in this way. It would leave a very bad effect on labour class and they would strongly oppose it in and outside the parliament, he added. Having same stance, another PPP senior leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said they are strongly against ‘outright sale’ of public entities in such a way. “Labour class should be given its due right,” he added. Giving his strong reaction, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) central leader Arif Alvi said they would strongly resist the government decision in the National Assembly , as it should be deliberated in the house. Whereas, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) conditionally supporting the government’s move said there should be a proper alternate plan for thousands of workers, who are expected to be laid off. Pakistan had agreed with IMF to privatise PSEs for $6.7 billion loan programme under the extended funds facility (EFF). The country was supposed to develop and approve a reform strategy for at least 30 PSEs out of the 65 shortlisted firms for privatisation, according to the IMF documents.
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