Vote on PIA bill deferred

WEB DESK:The government on Monday deferred a vote of the passage of Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (Conversion) Bill 2016 by a joint sitting of the parliament with a view to holding further consultations with opposition political parties to evolve consensus.

Ahead of a meeting of the combined opposition in the Parliament House, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar briefed the parliamentary leaders of the opposition political parties of both the houses of the Parliament on the bill. But, sources added, the opposition parties expressed dissatisfaction over the briefing and insisted that the bill should not be tabled before a joint sitting of the two houses on Monday until reservations of the opposition parties are addressed.

Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah told media persons after the joint meeting of the parliamentarians of all opposition parties that the government should have addressed the reservations on the PIA bill at the Council of Common Interest (CCI) after it was rejected by the Senate. “After the Bill was rejected by Upper House of the Parliament, the only lawful way was to bring the bill through CCI…but the government has violated the law and resorted to table the bill before a joint session,” he said, adding that a vote on the bill should be postponed and a legal way be adopted. He further said that another meeting will also be held on Tuesday (today) to further deliberate on the PIA bill and the opposition strategy accordingly.

Talking to Business Recorder, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Ali Mohammad Khan, who also attended the combined opposition meeting, said his party had a clear stance that the bill must not be allowed to be passed from the joint session. “We strongly oppose the privatisation of the strategic assets and we’ve clearly stated in the meeting of the combined opposition that in no way should the government be allowed to pass the bill,” the PTI lawmaker said, adding his party also floated a proposal that even if the government succeeded to pass the bill through its numerical strength, the move would be challenged in the Supreme Court.

However, sources said the government will again brief the parliamentary leaders of the opposition political parties on Tuesday to seek support for the smooth passage of the bill from a joint sitting. MQM’s senior leader Dr Farooq Sattar said the opposition political parties decided to convey to the government to bring the private members’ bills for the passage before tabling the PIA bill. Asked whether the PIA bill will finally be passed from the joint session anytime soon, he said the government has no other option but to pass it through the parliament, however, he added that the government needs to address the reservations of the opposition prior to presenting the bill before the joint session.

Source:Business Recorder