With the next general elections approaching, most of the institutions of the country have become extremely active and are trying to do away with some of the biggest problems of the country. One such problem is that of the national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), and the government has abruptly promised to privatise the airline in order to save it from completely shutting down. This promise at this particular time comes more as a shock than a source of relief.

The airline has not been able to revive itself economically and has just been an added burden on the shoulders of the taxpayers. This is not just limited to the deteriorating standard of their services but other controversies - heroin found in London bound PIA flight - surfacing as well. With such a history and multiple privatisation attempts, the rush to immediately privatise the airline does not paint a very good picture. The entire process requires effective planning and a complete timeline of the course of the path that they plan to take. Without such concrete information, the move can easily be criticised as a gimmick to appease voters before the elections as quoted by several publications as well – and the opposition are doing exactly that.

A very basic question which is on the minds of many out there is the lack of importance given to this matter in the last four years. The airline has been offered several way outs after losing a huge amount of money. Rs319 billion is not a small amount to be incurred in the form of losses. And this is certainly not the first time that the government is coming across such figures. Had a concrete plan been followed since the very beginning, maybe by now the privatisation of the airline would have been completed.

At this point, the government has a very tight schedule and huge task to complete. No doubt, the airline needs drastic measures to save it but they do not need to be taken in haste. At the same time, the airline is planning to extend its network and cash in on new paths. While this is a great plan, it needs to be monitored because a failing airline needs to have its policies thoroughly approved. The way forward is not hurrying up the process; several hurried attempts have further complicated the process. The solution lies in developing the strategy to privatise to an extent that the next government can smoothly complete the task.