ISLAMABAD: The government has agreed to postpone the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) bill for another three weeks after successful talks with the opposition parties.

The federal government has formed a 10-member committee on the matter.

Minister-In-Charge of the Cabinet Secretariat was expected to move a bill during the today‘s jont Parliament session.

The bill is being introduced to provide for setting up of the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation into a public limited company (The Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (Conversion) Bill, 2016), as passed by the National Assembly and rejected by the Senate, be taken into consideration at once under clause (3) of Article 70 of the Constitution.

Earlier, Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah chaired a joint meeting of the opposition parties in Islamabad to review draft strategy against the PIA privatization bill.

Representatives of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q), Balochistan National Party Awami (BNPA) and FATA members were present in the meeting.

During an informal talk with reporters after the meeting, Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah reiterated that the government did not address reservations of the opposition parties. This bill is not acceptable in any condition, he said.

Khurshid Shah vowed that all the parties have decided to strongly oppose the bill in the House.

Meanwhile, PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan said that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar lied to the House and a privilege motion will be moved against him.

Sheikh Rashid also announced protest against the bill.

In February, an anti-privatisation strike by the PIA employees grounded many planes for several days.

Following years of crushing losses and mismanagement that have battered the airline’s reputation, the federal government plans to sell off part of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), among companies it has pledged to privatize under an International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal.

Once a source of pride for Pakistan, the loss-making carrier has been hit by frequent flight cancellations, and many of its aircraft have been cannibalized to keep others flying.