ISLAMABAD - Former chairman Senate and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) stalwart Mian Raza Rabbani said yesterday that Council of Common Interests (CCI), not the cabinet, was the only constitutional forum for privatisation of all those entities that had been created and functioning under a Federal Statute.

The privatisation of all such entities is unconstitutional as the approval for the said privatisation has not been taken from the CCI,” he said in a statement. 

The opposition lawmaker added that Article 154 of the Constitution provided that CCI shall formulate and regulate the policies in relation to matters in Part-II of the Federal Legislative List and shall exercise supervision and control over related institutions. 

The privatisation of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and Roosevelt Hotel along with other such state-owned enterprises is unconstitutional as the Federal Cabinet cannot substitute the CCI as mandated in the Constitution of 1973 for approval (s), he further remarked. 

He said that as many 19,000 acres of land at the time and inception of the PSM were acquired by the federal government from the Sindh government for establishment of the mills. The said land cannot be utilized for any other purposes without getting a no objection certificate (NOC) from the provincial government. 

“As a matter of fact, the privatisation of the PSM is an attempt to take control of the 19,000 acres of land and use it for commercial and housing societies’ purposes.”

Rabbani alleged that this is yet another attempt, like the Island Authority of the federal government, to take control of the resources of the province of Sindh in order to meet the exorbitant federal expenditures and loans that the government had taken without taking parliament into confidence.

The federal government continues to retrench employees of the PSM by misusing certain verbal observations made by the Supreme Court while hearing an appeal against the promotion of an employee, he also said. 

“Such steps of misusing institutions by the federal government are condemned,” Rabbani concluded.