LAHORE - Powered by political parties and labour leaders, Jamaat-e-Islami has called upon the PML-N government to withdraw its decision for the privatisation of major national institutions.

A multi-party conference organised here yesterday also demanded a meeting of the Council for Common Interest (CCI) to decide a line of action on this score with the consent of major political parties.

“Pakistan International Airline (PIA) and other major national institutions are the public property and cannot be sold out at the sweet will of the rulers,” a joint declaration, adopted at the moot organised by Jamaat-e-Islami Lahore chapter, maintained.

The sitting demanded exemplary punishment to the killers of three PIA employees who were shot during a protest demonstration in Karachi, and waiver of the application of Essential Services Act on PIA. JI Secretary General Liaqat Baloch also made call for the release of arrested employees.

Others speakers included PTI’s Mian Mehmoodur Rashid, PPP’s Zahid Zukfikar, JUI’s Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Nizami, PIA Peoples Unity president Kashif Rana, PIACE president Javed Chaudhry, PREM Union’s Sheikh Muhammad Anwar, WAPDA Paigham union’s Ehsan Chaudhry and Ziaud Din Ansari, ex-vice president Lahore Bar Association.

They announced all out support to the PIA employees in their fight against privatization of the national flag carrier.

Liaqat Baloch pointed out that the present rulers had already sold out several national institutions on throw away prices and were now planning the privatization of more than sixty others.

“The government claims that privatization is being done for the progress in these institutions while, in fact, it is being done under IMF pressure.

“The issue is being grossly mishandled and three PIA employees have already been killed. More than seventy others are injured,” he added.

The JI leader further deplored that the Prime Minister, instead of feeling sorry for the killings, issued a provocative speech threatening the striking workers to be put behind the bars.

Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmudur Rashid said the government was claiming that the PIA was in losses due to over employment. “If there is corruption in PIA, the government is to be blamed for that

“Proposal of another airline is also imprudent and reflects the dishonest approach of the rulers in this regard,” he added.

JI Lahore chief Zikrullah Mujahid said the entire process of privatization in the country, so far, lacks transparency.

Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq welcomed partial resumption of PIA flights and said the national carrier employees had shown large heartedness, thus defeating the ego and intransigence of the rulers.

In a statement yesterday, the senator said that the PIA employees had proved that they could make every sacrifice for the cause of the country and the nation. “The flights had been suspended for about two weeks causing huge financial loss to the airline and the nation but the stiff necked rulers remained unmoved.

“Had the PIA employees also stuck to their stance, the country would have become a laughing stock all over the world,” he added. Sirajul Haq echoed the statement of his party’s secretary general, Liaquat Baloch, saying the incumbent rulers showed little interest in the rehabilitation of the national airlines and were going to sell the PIA, Pakistan Steel and other major national institutions under the IMF pressure to obtain more loans. “It was no bravery, using the state power against the workers.”

In fact, he said, the country was facing the worst form of dictatorship under the guise of democracy.

“These rulers are planning to sell the family silver before their tenure expires. But the nation will never allow them to go ahead with their nefarious plans,” said the JI chief, adding that the government could not blame the workers for incompetence and would have to account for the destruction of the national institutions.

“A few ceremonial projects cannot help feed the hungry. If the rulers only brought back their heaps of wealth lying in foreign countries, the country’s dependence of IMF and World Bank could end,” criticised Mr Haq.

Besides that, he added, by abolishing the protocol of the VIPs and the unnecessary non development expenditure, the government could create jobs for thousands of the youth.

“Death is cheap in our country while education is expensive due to which there is lawlessness, frustration and more crimes,” Sirajul Haq further deplored.