April 22, Islamabad: All employees of PIA are ensured full legal protection under the PIAC (Conversion) Act 2016, which was unanimously passed on April 11 2016 by the Parliament. The Privatisation Commission (PC) would therefore like to clarify the misperception created by a ‘stranger’ attending the Senate Standing Committee on Finance held on April 21 2016, whose misleading views have been reported in some parts of the media.

During this meeting, this stranger claimed that the Act puts PIA employees in a disadvantaged situation both in terms of legal rights and employment and pointed out a clause in the Act claiming that through this clause, the government has withdrawn civil service protection previously available to PIA employees.

The Privatisation Commission would like to clarify that all PIA employees enjoy the same legal protection under PIAC (Conversion) Act, 2016, which they were enjoying under the repealed PIAC Act, 1956. The status of employees of PIA was not of a ‘civil servant’ under the repealed PIAC Act 1956, and therefore no question of withdrawal of any legal protection arises.

Furthermore, the Parliamentary Committee of the Joint Sitting of Parliament on Bills had carefully deliberated and reviewed the provisions of the PIAC (Conversion) Act 2016 including provisions of subsection (6) section 3 of the Bill which fully protect interests of PIA employees and ensured the employees enjoy the same legal status, which they were enjoying previously. The PIAC Act 2016 was subsequently passed unanimously by the Joint Session of Parliament and thereby reflects the complete consensus within the Parliament on the matter.

PC would also like to emphasize that during the meeting, the Secretary PC had objected to the statements made by this person terming them to be factually and legally incorrect and also misleading the Senate Committee members on the subject. Furthermore, Secretary PC also emphasized that the person could not legally participate in the meeting, as he was neither a senator nor a government official. This stranger was furthermore challenging the collective wisdom and unanimous decision of the legislators on the PIAC (Conversion) Act 2016. The concerns raised by PC Secretary were endorsed by the Senate Committee members.