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PPP submits calling attention notice on PIA affairs

Updated November 19, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The main opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has submitted a calling attention notice to the National Assembly Secretariat seeking a response from the government over reports about the possible sale of the foreign assets of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The PPP members have drawn the attention of the minister concerned to media reports that the government is again planning to sell Roosevelt Hotel in New York and Hotel Scribe in Paris at a throwaway price.

The money raised by selling both these assets will be used to clear the PIA’s debt.

The notice has been submitted by parliamentary leader of the PPP Syed Naveed Qamar and Dr Nafeesa Shah, Shazia Marri and Ijaz Jakhrani.

Talking to Dawn, Naveed Qamar said they had submitted the notice after seeing reports in the media about the government’s planned move to sell PIA’s foreign assets. He said the PPP was opposed to any such move in the larger national interest.

Responding to a question, Mr Qamar said it was true that in the past many times various governments had thought about the plan to sell these assets to bring the national flag carrier out of economic mess, but the plans did not materialise. He said if the fresh reports about the possible sale of these assets were incorrect, then the government should state this on the floor of the parliament.

Last month, the National Assembly was informed in response to a question that the PIA had suffered losses amounting to more than Rs146 billion during the last four years.

Through the written reply to the question put by PPP’s Shahida Rehmani the NA was informed that after rising losses in 2013, the trend reversed in 2014 and 2015, with the airline incurring 27 per cent less losses.

However, the reply stated, a surge in losses in 2016 was expected due to increasing financial expenses resulting from PIA’s acquisition of new aircraft on lease and payment of mark-up on legacy loans, among other factors. The national flag carrier thus incurred estimated losses worth Rs37bn in 2016 alone.

According to the details provided by the minister, the airline incurred a loss of Rs44.32bn in 2013; Rs32,22bn in 2014; Rs32.53bn in 2015 and Rs36.95bn (estimated) in the year 2016.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2017