The privatisation of the national airline Pakistan International Airline (PIA) is an almost impossible task before the tenure of the government ends. The airline has been incurring losses for a long time and the administration has not been able to come up with a viable solution to turn the situation around. Many have advised the current government against the ad-hoc privatisation because in the past we have seen many such attempts which have resulted in nothing but failure.

There is staunch opposition from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and rightly so. Former President Asif Ali Zardari has warned the government against this move and has also asked the government to involve the parliament in this decision making process. When it comes to the privatisation of a national airline, the involvement of the parliament is highly critical. While one can debate his claim of advising investors against buying the airline and calling it a major theft scheme, his claim of involving the parliament stands absolutely correct. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has also threatened to oppose the decision in and out of the parliament.

The privatisation at such a large scale requires a lot of time. It has been confirmed by an official of the privatisation commission that the minimum time required for the materialisation of such a decision is eight to nine months. Although the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) on Friday approved the bifurcation of the PIA’s non-core business and assets from air transport-related operations before April this year, even Advisor to the Prime Minister on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Abbasi has signalled his belief against the completion of the project within the next three months.

It is ironic to see the government going against the advice of the experts in this case. It is about time they realise that they will have to take responsibility when such ad-hocism negatively affects the state.