The plans of privatization of as many as 32 enterprises of the nation has again surfaced which clearly shows that the present government has failed and is incapable of streamlining these enterprises. Instead of taking a firm grip and hiring efficient manpower to overcome the lethargic and incapable management they are determined to throw away the nations assets to the dogs. These were once the pride of the nation now they are being given away to the highest bidder!

One can just recount the list of the ‘on-sale’ state enterprises which, among others, include the national flag-carrier - the PIA, the life-line and the spinal cord of the national cohesion - Pakistan Railways, strength of the nation - Pakistan Steel Mills, the safe repository of the people of Pakistan-the National Bank of Pakistan and poor man’s hope to survive-the Utility Stores Corporation. These great names of 1960s, 70s and even 80s started diluting in mid-90s and now they have lost all their esteem, grace, pride, grandeur and any chance of survival and hence the government of PML-N has opted to put them all on sale and go for their privatization.

It is not because of some global trend, gloomy outlook or economic problems or some intrigue of the international financial organizations nor a keen desire to bring them back to function efficiently, but it is because we have failed to manage and discipline them by virtue of unprecedented corruption and corrupt practices of the successive governments during the past two decades. We have brought these ‘symbols’ of national honour and pride to the brink of total disaster.

It is in fact an acknowledgement of the PML-N government’s incapacity to bring the drowning ship ashore. This is the time to muster up courage, take bold initiatives, salvage the national pride, shake off the yoke of subordination to others and rise anew to own and re-build these enterprises by discarding corrupt practices. Thus they could have carved a new chapter of accomplishments in the history of Pakistan but they have decided to abandon the floundering institutions.

If Pak Railways can be restored why not PIA or Pakistan Steel or Utility Stores Corporation – the situation of National Bank is not so bad except over-staffing and non-professional inductions.

Having said all, the Prime Minister is requested in the name of the heavy mandate which the nation has given to him and his party, to establish the sincerity of his team and instead of selling out these national assets, bring them back on track of efficiency. Mr Prime Minister! if your Railway Minister can reduce the fares for Railway passengers, operate additional trains on special occasions and repair and re-induct a visible number of locomotives in the system, then why your Ministers holding the portfolios like PIA, Pak Steel and others are unable to revive these organizations and why your Ministers holding the charge of Finance and Economic Affairs, Water and Power and Petroleum and Natural Resources are bent upon raising the prices of food items, electricity, gas and petroleum products instead of providing relief to the people who have a firm faith in you?

SAKHI SARWAR,

Islamabad, January 9.