ISLAMABAD - Political parties yesterday advised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to personally intervene and meet leaders of the protesting employees of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) instead of handling the privatization issue through ministers.

Lawmakers and politicians warned the prime minister that the language used by his cabinet members and leaders of the ruling party will force the protesting PIA employees to adopt more harsh stand against privatization of the national flag carrier.

Central Information Secretary Awami National Party (ANP) told reporters here that his party will join the protesting PIA employees if the government continued to use force against the activists of the joint action committee of the protesters.

On February 2 when the anti-privatization rally was held in Karachi, the security personnel clashed with the marchers resulting in the death of two employees besides injuring many.

“If the government fails to satisfy the PIA employees, the ANP will formally join the marchers. We will not allow the government to privatize the airline unilaterally,” Mr Khan said.

He said passengers outside and inside the country have to go through a trauma because of the protest by PIA employees arguing the government was responsible for the hardships of people for being indifferent to the lingering protest marches.

In a latest development, the police registered a criminal case on Saturday last against key aides of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in connection with the killing of the two PIA workers.

Police registered an FIR against government officials, including Information Minister Pervez Rashid, Chairman Privatisation Commission Muhammad Zubair, Senator Mushahidullah Khan and PM’s Special Assistant on Aviation Shujaat Azeem, on the complaint of PIA Joint Action Committee Chairman Sohail Baluch.

“The ministers have complicated things for the prime minister by using provocative language against the employees. It is time for the prime minister to deal with the issue himself,” the ANP said.

Senator Farhatullah Babar in a statement issued here regretted that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has not yet personally intervened in the matter despite that the protest turned bloody after two lives were lost in the clashes in Karachi.

He said the ruling PML-N was completely isolated on the privatization issue of PIA adding the government should have abandoned the outsourcing plan keeping in view the agitation of criticism of political parties and agitation of stakeholders.

Interestingly, Senator of the ruling PML-N Nisar Muhammad sounded critical about the way the government handled the issue warning that the privatization of the national flag carrier was heading towards political crisis.

In a statement issued here the PML-N Senator said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should resolve national issues by himself and should not rely on some ministers who add fuel to the crisis.

“The government should accept the legitimate demands of PIA workers. Before the issue turns into political movements, the prime minister should come forward and resolve the conspiracy on privatization,” Senator Nisar said.

GOVT SHOULD GIVE RS300B TO PIA EMPLOYEES: KHURSHEED

INP adds: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior leader and Opposition Leader in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah has suggested to give Rs 300 billion and nine months to the employees of PIA for its betterment and to resolve the financial crisis faced by the national flag carrier.

Talking to media persons in Sukkur on Sunday, Khursheed Shah offered to play a role of mediator between government and protesting PIA workers to end strike and proposed to utilise money of Orange Line Train on PIA.

He lashed out at government representatives and challenged them to prove the allegations leveled against him.

The Opposition Leader also complained over the accusations against PPP and said that the issue will be raised in Parliament.

Responding to a question, Khursheed said that the government is taking 64.5 per cent tax which needed to be utilised for development, progress of country and uplifting the living standard of common man.