Restructure of PIA through strategic partnership being considered,NA told

Islamabad: The National Assembly was informed on Thursday that there is a proposal to restructure the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) through strategic partnership.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad told the house during question hour that Privatization Commission has been tasked to carry forward the process of privatization of core activities of national airline by divesting 26% of its share with complete management.

He said the objective is to offset the airline from recurring losses and to improve its service for the travelling passengers.

He also enumerated the steps being taken to improve performance of PIA including fleet modernization; closure of non-profitable international routes, and adoption of a comprehensive fuel cost control strategy.

Parliamentary Secretary for Cabinet Raja Javed Ikhlas told the house that 2500 students were sent abroad for studies and 280 of them defaulted. He said civil suits have been filed against defaulters and guarantors made to return the actual amount incurred on studies along with penalty up to 25% for breach of agreement.

Replying to a question, Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Shahnawaz Ranjha said the present Government believes in freedom of press and encourages positive criticism.

He said after coming into power, the Government is moving ahead to legislate Right to Information Bill that will recognize and realized the right to information as a fundamental constitutional right. It will make information available to the public in order to promote good and transparent governance.

About code of conduct, he said, the Government wants self-regulated code of conduct. It expects media to follow the norms and ethics of the profession. He said the duty of journalists is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.

He said draft Code of Conduct was circulated amongst the stakeholders for review and comment but Pakistan Broadcasters Association did not respond to it.

Replying to a supplementary, he said ARY News was issued show cause notice by PEMRA but it did not attend proceedings in this regard. The Speaker took exception to absence from galleries of the house of the officials of the ministries concerned during question hour.

He directed that relevant officials should make it a point to attend the proceedings when questions relating to their ministries are taken up. He said for this purpose, a special attendance register will be maintained in the house.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad said he is also addressing a letter to secretaries of all ministries and divisions in this regard.

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