PPP dismisses decision to sell shareholdings in banks

KARACHI: General Secretary Pakistan People’s Party Taj Haider on Thursday dismissed the decision of the federal government to sell its share holdings in three major privatized banks and OGDCL.

Legally this decision is a blatant violation of the Constitution, while economically it is outright condemnable, he said in a statement.

He said that 12.5 percent of the shares of the banks had already been given to the workers of these institutions by the people’s government. However, hurdles were being created in actual handing over these shares to the workers.

Fifty percent of the government shares in OGDCL were owned by the provinces. Even if the federal government could sell its shares legally the first right of purchase of its shares belonged to the partner provinces.

The PML (N) government is constantly avoiding giving the date and the contents of the “supposed” CCI decision on privatization which it repeatedly claims has been obtained. The 18th amendment to the Constitution has greatly changed the CCI structure (article 153) and its functions and rules of procedure (article 154) and any ‘so called’ decisions even if these were taken decades ago no longer hold any ground. It is in an effort to cover up it unconstitutional intentions that the PML(N) is ‘violating the Constitution by not constituting the CCI and calling its meeting at least once in ninety days’.

Taj Haider said that PML-N used to justify its privatization program by arguing that some units were incurring heavy losses and were increasing budgetary deficit.

However, in practice it is selling off its shares of those institutions that were earning high profits and were actually reducing the budget deficit. What can be the purpose of this counterproductive loss making exercise, except catering to some unknown vested interests? Haider questioned.