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Privatizing PIA–the need of the hour

Pakistan’s otherwise always squabbling opposition (which consists of mainstream political parties such as the PPP, PML-Q, MQM and of course PTI) have all united against the federal government’s resolve to turn around the national flag carrier PIA and privatize it. I, for one, would like to say openly that I understand the government’s decision to privatize Pakistan International Airlines and support it wholeheartedly. I’ve always been vocal about PIA’s dismal performance standards and I won’t change my stance based on a couple of social media trends.

For those of us who have had the luxury of traveling in a PIA aircraft, haven’t we borne the brunt of PIA’s callous and often rude staff? Weren’t we all just raving on and on about how PIA needs to be rectified from head to toe and a thorough cleansing of the national flag carrier was the need of the hour? When the Nawaz-led government finally decided to pull up their sleeves and dig into the dirt, we started protesting.

In my view, the majority of those who are protesting today are fearing a privatized PIA which would be run by a (hopefully) competent CEO and who will try to implement profitable strategies. This would also mean ensuring a staff that is not inept or less deserving of the post that they are ascribed. Need I remind the masses that this was the same PIA whose pilot was found drunk and sentenced to jail in the United Kingdom for 9 months? Just a couple of months ago, were passengers’ stolen valuables not recovered from the lockers of staff members belonging to the Pakistan International Airlines? Has this airline not emptied our coffers and caused unnecessary burden time and again to our national exchequer?

Should we then not resort to measures such as privatization of PIA? Should we not realise that political parties adding fuel to fire in these times have no sympathies with the unemployed but are tacitly using them for selfish purposes? Before we begin criticising our national flag carrier and imagining the horrors of selling our national asset off, can we deliberate a little on its current state at the moment and then reserve our judgment on the matter?

While I cannot condone killing of unarmed protesters in broad daylight, in a country that purportedly calls itself a democracy, I do understand strict enforcement of law and order by law enforcement agencies. Bellicose, belligerent, rowdy and rough–these are apt adjectives that one can use to describe the protesters that were trying to wreak havoc at Jinnah terminal yesterday. Countries around the world use tear gas shelling, water cannons and baton charging as crowd control techniques which sometimes cause casualties–again, which I must vehemently condemn.

To sum up my thoughts, let’s all man up and face the bitter reality–whether it be schools, hospitals or institutions of any sort, we always prefer the private option as opposed to the public or government option. Then why the hypocrisy in this particular matter? Yes there will be thousands of unemployed but at the end of the day, we might end up shedding the extra baggage and welcoming on-board meritorious individuals of note. Let’s not believe fallacies from our politicians, especially those from the PTI, who will say and do anything to get a shot at PML-N. The recent dharnas should serve as an example.

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