PIA Bill of Company passed in Parliament
Islamabad (Tuesday, April 12, 2016) – Parliament on Monday passed the Pakistan International Airlines (conversion) Bill 2016, paving the way for the government to convert the national flag carrier from a corporation into a public limited company.
The House passed the bill without any objection from the opposition as the government and opposition lawmakers had reached a consensus on April 6 in a meeting of a 10-member special committee, constituted by the National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq to settle the issue amicably.
Though all the parties on both sides of the aisle supported the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) (Conversion) Bill 2016, the ANP staged a walkout complaining that they had not been taken on board on the issue. Senator Ilyas Bilour of the ANP stated that his party’s consent had not been sought on the bill.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) members supported the bill but, at the same time, JI parliamentary leader Sahibzada Tariqullah said they had not been taken into confidence as to what was discussed between the PPP and the government with regard to the cases filed against PIA employees.
At the outset of proceedings, PPP parliamentarians Senator Aitzaz Ahsan and Khursheed Shah conditioned their support to the PIA bill to the withdrawal of administrative and legal cases against the PIA employees. They also refused to rely on the verbal assurances of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar that all administrative cases against the employees would be withdrawn within 24 hours. “There is a contradiction between the PML-N leaders’ commitments and deeds,” Aitzaz said.
To resolve the issue, the speaker suspended the proceedings and asked the two sides to sit together to reach a solution.On resumption of proceedings after two hours, Dar said as a result of consultations with the opposition, it had been decided that show cause notices, transfer orders and dismissal orders relating to administrative matters issued due to recent industrial unrest would be withdrawn.
Similarly, he said complaints lodged by the government and PIA employees against each other would also be taken back, which would result in withdrawal of FIRs, criminal allegations and statements made against the PIA. The minister requested that after this understanding, the legislative business of the joint sessions should be taken up on priority.