SAHIWAL: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif warned on Tuesday that the protesting employees of Pakistan International Airlines will lose their jobs and may be jailed for a year, according to DawnNews.

Talking to reporters during a visit to a coal power plant here, Mr Sharif also said that the employees who were working during the strike would be rewarded.

Mr Sharif accused leaders of PIA’s union of politicising the privatisation issue with their strike.

He said PIA was living off dole from the national exchequer and suffering a loss of Rs100 million a day.

APP adds: The prime minister said the PIA strike had the backing of some political parties. “Politics is going on in PIA. And it is going on with the backing of some political parties. Should we not check it and improve the situation?”

He said passengers faced hardship due to poor service and the poor condition of PIA’s fleet. “Should we ignore it?” he asked.

He said that in his view any concession given to such elements would be unfair for the country.

Referring to the statement of Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Ahmad Shah, who described the government’s decision to invoke the Essential Services Act as a dictatorial action, the prime minister said former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of the PPP had also used the act in 1976 to deal with the PIA situation.

Answering a question about the Sahiwal Coal Power Project, he said it would have a positive impact on the country’s economic growth. It is for the first time in the country’s history that major projects, including those being launched under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, were being completed at such a fast pace.

He said after completion the Sahiwal project would add 1,320MW of electricity to the national grid, adding that it would help revive industrial sector, strengthen agriculture, boost exports and reduce unemployment.

He said the coal power being economical would also help reduce the electricity tariff.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2016