KARACHI – Flight operations in different cities have been reported normal on Tuesday despite Joint Action Committee’s (JAC) warning of halt,
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) employees have gathered outside the head office to continue protest against privatization on the eight consecutive day. However, the authorities have geared up to counter any disruption in the normal routine at the airports.
After Information Minister Pervez Rasheed’s warning on Monday night, authorities have deployed contingents of Sindh Police and Pakistan Rangers outside Jinnah International Airport.
Water cannons have been called at the protesting sites in Lahore and Karachi to deter the employees if they attempt to halt flight operations. The employees had warned earlier of halting flight operations if their demands are not met.A heavy contingent of police is present outside Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airporft as well.
On Monday night, federal Information Minister Pervez Rasheed had warned the PIA employees of losing their jobs if they do not stop demonstrations against government’s decision to privatize the national airlines.
He had also promised a ‘reward’ for those who follow government’s instructions and end the series of protests which have been ongoing for more than week in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and other cities.
Rasheed said that those who irk the locals through cancellation of flights would be reprimanded. He said that the employees who would continue protest on Tuesday would be terminated from service with no chances of reappointment.
He said that when Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) came in power, the national airlines only had a fleet of 18 aircrafts while now the number is 40.
Spokesperson of the national airlines today has said that all flights are departing for their destinations on time. He has also said that flight operations at all airports across the country are normal.
More than 24 Karachi-bound flights took off from the federal capital without any delay and landed on time.
Spokesperson for the PIA said that PK-300 from Karachi to Islamabad, PK-590 from Karachi to Sukkur, PK-302 from Karachi to Lahore were on schedule.
PK-365 from Islamabad to Karachi, PK-333 from Multan to Karachi, PK-786 from London to Islamabad, PK-283 from Peshawar to Dubai, PK-650 from Lahore to Islamabad, PK-247 from Sialkot to Saudi Arabia’s Dammam are also among the flights that have been on time.
The spokesperson further said that PK-584 from Karachi to Dera Ghazi Khan, PK-302 from Karachi to Lahore, PK-217 from Peshawar to Abu Dhabi, PK-733 from Lahore to Paris and PK-203 from Lahore to Dubai departed on time. PIA’s PK-712 left for New York on time without any unnecessary delay.
He further said that employees returned to their work places after government’s warning.
Read also: PIA employees reject six-month postponement, protest on seventh day in different cities
After the government delayed privatization of Pakistan International Airlines by six months, the citizens will bear Rs 21 billion loss. The postponement alone will result in losses worth billions of Rupees for the deficit bearing company.
According to the documents, the number of employed PIA personnel stands at 14,847 which are working for 38 airplanes. 390 employees perform their duties per plane of PIA.
Sources said that the Finance Ministry among other government representatives would not convince the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the delay in privatization. The government had provided a roadmap of privatization which is supposed to be done in 2016 to the IMF.
According to the blueprint, PIA, State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan (SLIC) and Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) will be privatized in the current year.