State Minister for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha on Thursday announced that public-owned companies of Qatar plans to run Islamabad and Karachi airports as per an understanding reached between the two sides during a visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Qatar.
Aisha Ghaus said that the government was not able to run the public-owned companies and even profitable public companies are suffering losses. “It is important to privatize them to maintain them as profitable institutions,” she said, adding that Qatar has expressed interest in investment in the country.
She lamented that power sector was given more funds than defence during the last fiscal year owing to circular debt in the sector. Pakistan is in economic turmoil and faces a balance of payments crisis, with foreign reserves having dropped as low as $7.8 billion, barely enough for more than a month of imports. It is also contending with a widening current account deficit, weakening rupee currency, and inflation that exceeded 24% in July.
Doha has shown interest in airport management partnership and the Roosevelt Hotel in New York’s Manhattan owned by the Pakistan International Airlines, said two Pakistani aviation officials involved in the talks.
“Qatar has shown interest in taking over terminal and cargo services at Islamabad airport,” one of the officials said, adding other airports, such as Karachi, could also be considered later on.