Following a dire fuel crisis that significantly impacted Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight operations, the interim Prime Minister, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, took decisive action on Monday.
He instructed the relevant authorities to expedite the privatisation process of the nation’s flag carrier.
Over recent weeks, PIA’s flight schedule has faced severe disruption, with numerous cancellations attributed to fuel shortages, exacerbated by the airline’s precarious financial situation.
Notably, on the preceding day, Pakistan State Oil (PSO) curtailed its fuel supply to PIA, resulting in the cancellation of 26 flights originating from various cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta, Bahawalpur, Multan, Gwadar, and others.
Chairing a comprehensive review meeting concerning PIA’s financial challenges, Prime Minister Kakar highlighted the urgency of finalising the privatisation process within the stipulated timeframe. He further insisted on the submission of regular compliance reports on this matter.
The Prime Minister assured that the government remains committed to supporting PIA until the privatisation process is successfully completed. He said that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) facing financial losses will be privatised to safeguard the national treasury.
During this meeting, the Prime Minister received a detailed briefing on PIA’s current financial status.
In August 2023, the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) approved the inclusion of PIA in the active list of entities slated for privatisation following parliamentary amendments.
Additionally, the CCoP consented to engage a financial advisor for the transaction concerning PIA’s Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
According to credible sources, a significant transformation occurred when PIA transitioned from a corporation to a public limited company registered under the Companies Ordinance, 1984.
This transition commenced in 2016 through a joint parliamentary session that resulted in the enactment of the PIAC (Conversion) Act, 2016.
This legislation gave rise to Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited (PIACL), a public limited company.
Notably, a substantial amendment was introduced, known as the ‘Explanation’ in Sub-section 4 of Section 4, which restricted the federal government from relinquishing management control in the airline business of PIACL while maintaining a minimum ownership stake of 51% in the entity.