Welcome accord on PIA Bill

IN a welcome development, the Government and the opposition arereported to have arrived at an understanding over controversial PIA
Bill, which is pending before the joint session of the Parliament. The Government’s move to get the bill passed was scuttled twice by opposition-dominated Senate and as a counter move the bill was referred to the joint session.
There is no denying the fact that PML(N) and its allies are in majority in the joint session and the Government would have got it adopted in the original shape if it so wanted. However, the credit goes to the leadership of the party, which demonstrated vision and foresight despite somewhat ‘brute majority’ behaviour of the Upper House; and instead opted for dialogue and discussion with the opposition to accommodate their viewpoint in the said piece of legislation. Reports suggest that the agreement was reached after the Government accepted major amendments proposed by the opposition guaranteeing non-privatization of PIA, restricting the Government from divesting more than 49 percent shares of the airline and ensuring that no employee would be laid off. All this shows that given sincerity and will, most complicated and ticklish issues can amicably be resolved. We also hope that the Senate too would demonstrate the same spirit and instead of going for extreme actions in haste opt for the policy of dialogue and discussion. Now that there is consensus on PIA bill, it is also expected that all sides would cooperate in finding solution to the problems confronting the national flag carrier. There is no denying the fact that PIA is in bad shape mainly because of mismanagement of decades, corruption, overstaffing, shirk work, inefficiency, nepotism and political interference. Urgent reforms should be undertaken to put the national airliner and also the other moribund enterprises like Pakistan Steel Mills, on sound footings both administratively and financially and making each and every employee to contribute to its growth. There must not be politics at the cost of health of important national institutions.

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