April 22, 2018 (DESPARDES/PKONWEB: Sen. Raza Rabbani, the former chairman of Senate and a leader of Pakistan Peoples Party while addressing a press conference on Saturday in Karachi, said it had been proved after the victory of the Peoples Unity in the referendum of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) that workers were against the privatization of the national flag carrier.
“However, the PIA management is not willing to accept the referendum results,” he regretted.
Rabbani extended his felicitations to the Peoples Unity for a resounding victory against the ruling PML-N-backed Air League in the referendum earlier this week. “The Air League could not even manage to win from Lahore,” he said.
In Thursday’s referendum, the Peoples Unity — backed by PPP, Jamaat-i-Islami and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan — received 4,228 votes compared to Air League’s 1,888. The PTI-backed Insaf Front could only secure 78 votes.
He said the results of the referendum were proof that PIA workers would never accept its sell-off.
He said the issue of removing the country’s flag from the tail of PIA aircraft would also be raised in parliament, as it would make the national carrier lose its identity the world over. He alleged that the cost of removing Pakistan’s flag from one aircraft is $30,000. “The government is willing to splash out so much money [on the redesign], but is not ready to pay salaries to the PIA employees.”
With massive infusion of Rupees 400 crore every year which barely keeps PIA afloat, the airline is knee-deep in debt and recurring losses despite the recent facelift.
Amid the incumbent government’s push for privatization, the vehement resistance by the opposition, and the prohibition by the Supreme Court barring any move to privatize the national asset, PIA future remains uncertain, with further piling up of national debt until the apex court decides its fate.
The former chairman Senate also said that any attempt to roll back the 18th Amendment would cost the federal government dearly.