Pervaiz urges political parties not to politicize PIA issue

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid on Saturday said the PML-N government always respected the mandate of other political parties and never interfered in their affairs but it was not reciprocated by them particularly in the case of Pakistan International Airline (PIA).

He said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was introducing reforms in the health sector and started privatization process of hospitals despite opposition from the doctors. Since it was a legitimate elected government so the federal government did not interfere in its affairs, he added.

The political parties should have reciprocated such attitude, but by politicizing the PIA’s issue they were interfering in the federal government’s affairs, he said while addressing a ceremony marking the first anniversary of 92 Television Channel.

Officials of PIA, National Accountability Bureau, Islamabad Police and Managing Director Associated Press of Pakistan Masood Malik were also present in the ceremony.

He said that elected governments had to make their decisions by themselves as public gave them mandate for reforms.

The minister said he received numerous calls from people during the last three days, who had suffered due to the strike of PIA employees. People could not reach their destinations to attend funerals of their loved ones, family functions, job interviews or other engagements due to the ongoing strike, he added.

He said the PIA was a service-oriented organization and the common people were being suffered due to the suspension of its services. The national airlines’ assets were being eroded, he added.

Pervaiz Rashid said the government wanted revival of the PIA and that was why it had increased number of its aircraft from 18 to 38. On the contrary, some 700 employees were performing duties against a single plane in the past having average age of over 20 years while flights were always delayed causing inconvenience to the customers, he added.

The minister said that the government was committed to revive all the non-profitable organizations. The previous government of Pakistan Peoples Party and Musharraf regime had done nothing for the revival of national flag carrier, but the PML-N government took it upon to make it a profitable organization, he added.

Majority of the PIA shares would remain with the government as it was the real owner of its assets for holding majority shares, he said.

The minister said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had himself guaranteed that there would be no lay-off in the PIA but nothing was made positive from the other side.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf spokesperson Naeem ul Haq, he said, had posed trust in Minister for Privatization Muhammad Zubair and hoped that the PIA’s issue would be resolved through dialogue.

Pervaiz Rashid urged the media to highlight the problems of people instead of creating sensationalism and presenting news as per their own desires.

The minister later gave prizes to the staff for their best performance. Asma Sheerazi was given prize for best anchorperson, Mian Shahid Mehmud for best reporter, Tanveer Iqbal for best sub-editor, Nadeem Khan for best cameraman and Muhammad Haroon for best producer.

Earlier, the minister cut a cake marking the first anniversary of Channel 92 and felicitated its employees.