APC demands govt to review, withdraw plan of PIA privatization

LAHORE: An anti-privatization All Parties Conference (APC) organized by the JI Lahore chapter on Sunday demanded of the government to review and withdraw its decision for the privatization of major national institutions and convene a meeting of the Council for Common Interest (CCI) to decide a line of action on this score with the consent of the major political parties.

The moot attended by major political parties and labour leaders adopted a joint declaration which stated that the PIA and other major national institutions were the property of the masses and could not be sold out at the sweet will of the rulers.

The joint declaration also demanded to bring the culprits of killing three PIA employees to book and awarding exemplary punishment to them and the application of the Essential Services Act on the PIA be waved forthwith. It also demanded the release of the arrested workers leaders.

The APC was chaired by JI Secretary General, Liaqat Baloch. The speakers included PTI MPA Mian Mehmud Rashid, PPP’s Zahid Zukfikar, Alama Zubair Ahmed Zaheer, JUI’s Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Nizami, President, PIA Peoples Unity, Kashif Rana, President PIACE Javed Chaudhry, Hafiz Salman Butt, PREM Union’s Sheikh Muhammad Anwar, WAPDA Paigham union’s Ehsan Chaudhry and a former vice President, Lahore Bar Association, Ziauld Din Ansari. They announced all out support to the PIA employees in their fight against the sell out of the institution.

Liaqat Baloch pointed out that the incumbent rulers had already sold out several national demanded institutions on throw away prices and were now planning the privatization of a more than sixty others. He said the government was claiming that the privatization was being done for the betterment of these institutions while in fact it was being done under IMF pressure.

He said that the issue had been being grossly mishandled and already three PIA employees had been martyred while more than seventy others had been injured. He deplored that the Prime Minister, instead of feeling sorry for the killings, had issued a provocative speech threatening the striking workers to be put behind the bars.

PTI leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Mian Mehmud ur Rashid said the government was claiming that the PIA was in losses due to over employment. He said if there was corruption in the PIA, the government was to be blamed for that. He said that the proposal of another airline was also imprudent and reflected the dishonest approach of the rulers in this regard.

JI Lahore chief Zikrullah Mujahid said that the entire process of privatization in the country so far had lacked transparency and the present PIA’s problems included long mismanagement and huge plunder for which no body was ready to accept responsibility.

Secretary General, National Labour Federation, Hafiz Salman Butt declared that the PREM Union members would observe Black Day against privatization all over the country on February 10.

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