Govt has no plan to privatize Pakistan Steels Mills and PIA; Senate informed

Govt has no plan to privatize Pakistan Steels Mills and PIA; Senate informed

Senate was informed that government has no plan of privatization of Pakistan International Airlines and an improvement plan is being prepared to make the national carrier stand on its feet. 

Responding to a question during Question Hour at the Upper House of Parliament today, Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said state of financial affairs has improved during the last eight months. He said business class seats have been replaced with economy class seats only on those routes where passengers of these seats are more in number. 

Ghulam Sarwar Khan said flights are being operated at commercially viable domestic routes, but have been stopped at non-viable routes. He said the process of accountability continues at the national carrier and at least two hundred and fifty people have been sacked on charges of holding fake degrees.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said the positive impact of planting trees under Green Pakistan program is being realized. On the objection of Senator Mushahidullah Khan regarding the number of trees planted, the Chairman referred the matter to committee concerned.

Responding to a calling attention notice on the non-availability of public transport facility to the New Islamabad International Airport causing access issues for the general public, Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the foundation stone of the airport was laid in 2006. It was to be completed in 4 years’ time at a cost of 35 billion rupees. However, cost exceeded to over 100 billion rupees and its construction was not up to the mark. Supreme Court of Pakistan had taken suo moto notice on this issue and the investigation by FIA is still going on.

He said there are two car parking spaces at the airport, one for employees and second for the general public. Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the previous government had started a project of metro bus service for the airport, but due to lack of funds it could not be completed. He said funds have now been allocated to complete the remaining 25 percent work and it will be finished before the end of current years.

The calling attention notice was moved by Senator Mohsin Aziz.

On a calling attention notice regarding talks with IMF by the government without taking the parliament into confidence, the Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar said Pakistan is constantly negotiating with IMF team since October last year.

The negotiations with new IMF team are also in progress. He said finance committee will brief members of both houses of parliament on details of the IMF programme.

Hammad Azhar said 9.8 percent inflation was recorded in first eight months of PTI government, comparing with 24.5 percent in the same period of PPP tenure. He said increase in oil prices in regional countries is more than Pakistan. But, government gave relief of 100 billion rupees to the people to shield them from inflation.

He said a single portal will be launched on first July to facilitate the tax filing.

He said government is making efforts to correct the course of economy.

The calling attention notice was moved by Senator Sherry Rehman.

On an adjournment motion regarding lack of modernization and internal accountability in FIA, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said FIA is the first line of defense after police and it deals with white collar crime and other issues.

He said Pakistan has fought a successful war against terrorism in which more than 70,000 lives were sacrificed.

Ali Muhammad Khan said FIA is being restructured to make it a modern and efficient organization.

He said 500 new posts will be created in FIA.

He said patrolling unit has been established in FIA where complaints against cyber harassing and intimidation are being dealt with.

He said 15 police stations have been set up to investigate and proceed in the cases of cyber crimes.

The adjournment motion was moved by Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh.

Two reports were laid before the House today. First was on the Pakistan Courier and Logistics Regulatory Authority Bill, 2018. It was introduced by Senator Khushbakht Shujat.

The second report was on Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (Amendment of Article 24). The report was introduced by Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi, on behalf of Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Saif.