rawalpindi - A large number of employees of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) yesterday demonstrated and staged a sit-in outside Benazir Bhutto Islamabad International Airport against privatisation of the national airline.

The administrative affairs remained disrupted and flight operation was affected badly due to the protest.

The protestors vehemently condemned the killing of two colleagues and injuries of others during a showndown between personnel of law enforcement agencies and protesting PIA employees outside Jinnah International Airport, Karachi.

They also chanted slogans against prime minister and other ministers and demanded the government to withdraw its decision of privatising the airline.

The protestors announced to stage a sit-in today (Wednesday) from 11:00am to 5:00pm outside the airport.

A heavy contingent of police and Airport Security Force (ASF) were deployed at the airport by the government which also thwarted the attempts of mob to enter inside the airport premises. The passengers also faced a lot of troubles during the entire episode.

According to details, a good number of PIA employees gathered outside BBIIAP at 2:00pm and started protesting against the privatisation of national flag carrier. Carrying placards, they chanted slogans against the government. Some of the protestors beat their chests to mourn the death of two PIA employees in Karachi.

Prominent among the protestors were People Unity of PIA Employees Union President Ramzan Laghari, General Secretary Suhail Bukhtiyar, Air League of Employees Union (CBA) General Secretary Zaigham Sajjad Kiyani and Malik Nasir Awan of Insaaf Workers Front. Later, the protestors staged a sit-in.

Addressing the protestors, the speakers denounced the baton charge and armed attack on the PIA employees in Karachi by the LEAs that claimed two lives and left seven injured.

They said that they would not allow the government to privatise the PIA and would go to extreme level for acceptance of their demands.

Suhail Bukhtiyar said that PML-N government had broken all the records of barbarianism by shooting bullets at empty handed protestors in Karachi. He said that they would not give up and continue their protest. He said that no condition would be accepted other than the return of approved bill in National assembly regarding the elimination of privatization and making the department public limited.

“Our colleagues have been shot dead by LEAs in Karachi and we would not let their blood go waste and will bar government from privatizing PIA at any cost,” said Zaigham Sajjad Kiyani, the General Secretary Air League of Employees Union (CBA). He said that he along with his colleague faced atrocities in Musharraf regime while supporting Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif when he (PM) was not allowed to touch land of Islamabad and sent back to Jeddah by the military dictator. “Now Mian Nawaz Sharif has become our enemy and is trying to snatch loaf of bread from the mouths of our families by privatising PIA,” he said.

A mob attempted to go inside the airport premises but police and ASF stopped them at the main gate after which the protestors staged a sit-in on road.

According to sources, a total of seven flights including an international flight have been cancelled due to the protest. The cancelled flights included PK-369 (Islamabad to Karachi), PK-681 (Islamabad to Multan), PK-653 (Islamabad-Lahore), PK-309 (Islamabad-Karachi), PK-854 (Islamabad-Beijing) and PK-391 (Islamabad-Karachi).

PIA spokesman was not available for his comments.