LAHORE: A petition was filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) today challenging the enforcement of Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) 1952, in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The Federal Government on Monday invoked the act to stop PIA employees from observing strike and halting the flight operation of national airline. The employees have been protesting the government’s plan to privatise the airline.

However, the PIA employees went on strike on Tuesday, which continued on Wednesday. Three protestors were killed and many injured during their clash with Rangers and police outside the Karachi Airport.

Ishtiaq Chaudhri Advocate, in his petition, appealed the court to invalidate the act as barring workers from protest was violation of the Constitution.

PIA and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have been made parties in the petition

It may be added by enforcing the ESMA, the government has abolished all unions of workers. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed PIA administration to take action against those employees who continue to abstain from duty.