PPP to launch movement against privatization, says Raza Rabbani

KARACHI: Announcing a protest drive against government’s policy of privatization, a senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, said the proposed privatization of Pakistan International Airlines and Pakistan Steel Mills would be in sheer violation of the provisions of the Constitution, as the two were national strategic institutions.
Speaking at a press conference here on Wednesday, Raza Rabbani, who is the central additional secretary-general of the PPP, said the government had been unduly moving ahead with its policy of privatizing national institutions, like the Pakistan Steel and PIA, against the national interests.
He said the PPP, in collaboration with the relevant political, labour and civil society organizations, would lead a protest drive against the ill-advised move of the government to sell national assets to the private sector.
Raza Rabbani said the government, instead of reviving PIA, planned to bifurcate the national flag carrier while 4,000 employees of the airline could be fired on the pretext of conserving undue expenditures of the organization.He said the privatization of such national organizations would render hundreds of thousands of labourers jobless.
Raza Rabbani said the PPP would resort to observing peaceful protest drive against the policy of privatization of the government and under the protest drive all the means of public communication and transportation across the country could be blocked.
The PPP leader said the provinces should be fully taken into confidence regarding plans and policy of privatization of national assets as such matters should be thoroughly discussed at the relevant constitutional forum of the Council of Common Interests (CCI).
He said that no meeting of the CCI had been convened by the federal government since May 29, which was a violation of the Constitution.Raza Rabbani said the government could destabilize the situation at the national level owing to its own unconstitutional steps.
He warned the federal government to refrain from its policy of privatizing national institutions otherwise it had to face some very tough time.The PPP leader said the shutdown policy being maintained by the government for Pakistan Steel had caused financial losses to the tune of Rs3 billion to the national exchequer while employees of the Steel Mills had been doing without salaries for the last three months.
He said the Supreme Court should take suo moto cognizance of the matter of privatization of these national assets.The PPP leader said the Sindh government should also release the due notification for materializing the latest increase in the province in the minimum wage of labourers.
Raza Rabbani said that an anti-privatization conference would be held in Karachi on December 4. The conference would adopt the next line of the movement being unfolded against privatization.
Source: The News International

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