QUETTA: PIA employees hold a sit-in outside the PIA Head Office here on Thursday to protest against the proposed privatisation of the airline.—INP
QUETTA: PIA employees hold a sit-in outside the PIA Head Office here on Thursday to protest against the proposed privatisation of the airline.—INP

ISLAMABAD: The ongoing protest by PIA employees against the proposed privatisation seems to be turning into a political crisis and started affecting the working of parliament.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping had to adjourn its main agenda on Thursday because of failure of senior ministry officials to reach Islamabad because of non-availability of flights.

The committee, headed by Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, was to scrutinise the budgetary proposals of the ministry relating to the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the federal budget for the upcoming financial year 2016-17, besides approving minutes of the previous meeting held on Dec 21 last year.

However, at the outset of the meeting members were informed that senior officials of the ports and shipping ministry, who were to attend the meeting could not leave Karachi for Islamabad because of suspension of flights and strike by the PIA employees.


Flight operations’ suspension starts affecting parliament proceedings


All PIA flight operations have been suspended for the last two days because of the protest, causing problems for passengers.

The committee members found no other option but to defer the agenda after approving minutes of the last meeting.

No new date for the meeting has been announced.

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping is also scheduled to be held on Feb 12 to take up issues related to Karachi Port Trust (KPT).

The opposition parties, which are expressing solidarity with protesting PIA employees, had already submitted requisition notices to the National Assembly and the Senate secretariats to convene sessions of the two houses to discuss the PIA fiasco.

Those attended the NA committee’s meeting included Akram Ansari, Rana Muhammad Hayat Khan, Mehar Ishtiaq Ahmed, Seema Mohyuddin, Shaheen Shafiq, Romina Khurshid, Pir Muhammad Aslam Bodla, Khalil George, Lal Chand Malhi, Salman Baloch, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Jamaluddin and Malik Aamir Dogar besides the federal minister.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2016

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