KARACHI  - The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is not being privatised but the change for betterment in it would be introduced on the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) basis and the interests of the employees would be protected.

This was stated by the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Pervez Rashid. He was talking to the representatives of Joint Ad hoc Committee of PIA Employees who called on him at a local hotel on Wednesday. The delegation was led by Sohail Baloch, president of PALPA, and Shamim Akmal, Central President of Air League.

The Minister said that the government desires to help streamline the affairs of the National Flag Carrier and for this a genuine approach is being adopted.

He stated that a Managing Director would be appointed in the PIA who not only share the profits in the organisation but also bear the losses, in case such a situation arises.

Regarding the meeting with the delegation of the representatives of the PIA employees, he said that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has desired that "I (Minister for Information) convey his view point about the National Flag Carrier". He said that the concerns of the PIA employees and their representatives are the concerns of the government as well because the Airline is a national asset.

The Information Minister said that salvaging the PIA would also be saving the prestige of the country.

He stated that the decision taken by the Government regarding the PIA was aimed at its betterment.

Pervez Rashid was of the view that no business should be run under the government control and that during its previous term the PML-N government had adopted the policy of liberalization of the economy which was in vogue internationally.

He also cited the examples of the successful privatization of the banks and the PTCL etc.

The Minister made it clear that there would be no agreement that may affect the interests of the employees of the PIA.

He said that the track record of the PML-N government shows that it never compromised on the interests of the workers which would be fully protected.

Pervez Rashid said that the Prime Minister also has a programme to expand the national flag carrier and that he would also shed light on it in the time ahead.

He stated that the input of the representatives of the employees of the PIA would also be sought.

The Minister said that PIA has the big market and some 150,000 Hajjis travel by it. Similarly, those going to perform Umrah also travel it besides those who head for Gulf and UK etc.

Earlier, Sohail Baloch said that PIA should be given an honest chance for streamlining it.

He further stated that there should be a professional board for the PIA.

Sohail Baloch said that "we all desire that the PIA should survive".

Shamim Akmal of the Air League was of the view that the PIA has the potential to survive.

The meeting was also attended by Shaukat Jamshed, president of the Society of Aircraft Engineers of Pakistan, Ahmed Butt, president Air League Lahore, Safder Anjum, Senior vice-president of Alliance of Friends of Senior Staff Association Karachi, Arshad Nazir, Welfare Secretary of the Alliance and Mahmood Bukhari, General Secretary of Air league Lahore.