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Govt took dictation on PIA from outside, says Shah

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ISLAMABAD: Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah on Friday lambasted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over his style of governance  accusing his government of taking ‘dictations’ on key issues – such as privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) – from the outside.

Speaking on a motion to discuss the proposed privatisation of the national flag carrier and petroleum prices on the first day of the session, Shah accused the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government of taking dictation ‘from the outside’ on various issues and bulldozing legislation process without consensus.

“Whenever the Nawaz-government lands in trouble, it runs towards parliament but it starts ignoring the importance of the house once the crisis is over,” he said.

Shah said the decision to convert PIA into a company was taken ‘somewhere outside’ on the dictation of ‘someone else’ and only a bill was sent to this house to sail through.

He said the government did not bother to hold debate on many national interest issues, adding that “We don’t know anything about the recent LNG deal with Qatar.” Shah also criticised Premier Nawaz for alleging that the opposition was doing politics on the PIA issue. “It was disheartening for every democrat. I’m a politician and I’ll do politics, as only through politics we can resolve problems of this country.” He added that PML-N had pledged to fight for the interest of the workers against privatisation but has started victimising them instead.

Shah said during Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) rule, Syed Naveed Qamar brought a privatisation plan which the government did not approve. He added that during his party’s five-year tenure, 137 bills were passed, of which 98% sailed through with consensus. “We put each and every issue before parliament, while considering it the real ‘centre of power’ that represents the will of 180 million people.”

The opposition leader also presented statistics to compare PIA’s performance during the PPP era and the PML-N’s regime to show that the airline started making huge losses during the present government. “It all shows your mismanagement and that you have shifted revenue to some other airlines.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th,  2016.

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