The interim federal government has formulated a strategy, officially approved by the federal cabinet, to preclude anticipated protests related to the proposed privatization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
Central to this strategy is the implementation of a mandatory service law targeted at PIA workers, effectively restricting their right to protest, according to reports from The News.
The plan involves activating the Pakistan Essential Service (Maintenance) Act 1952, as outlined in a circular, imposing strict constraints on PIA workers to prohibit engagement in protests or strikes.
Sources indicate that the federal cabinet has given the green light to this measure, aiming to suppress any potential resistance to the privatization of the national flag carrier.
In addition to the mandatory service law, the interim government has moved to ban union activities within PIA, further solidifying its strategy to prevent opposition from the workforce. Authorities have underscored that stringent punitive actions will be taken against those who breach the newly imposed regulations.
This decision by the caretaker government is prompted by PIA’s ongoing financial challenges, grappling with sustained losses over several years. The airline recently faced a critical fuel supply disruption when Pakistan State Oil refused to provide fuel, necessitating government intervention to release funds and restore normal flight operations.
The implementation of these measures by the interim government underscores the complexities and contentious nature of the privatization process for the national carrier.