Home Latest News PIA Board of Directors Approves Privatization Plan

PIA Board of Directors Approves Privatization Plan

Foreign minister seeks early resumption of flag carrier’s flights to the U.K.

by Staff Report

File photo. Asif Hassan—AFP

The Board of Directors for the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Monday approved the privatization and restructuring plan of the national flag carrier after reviewing the design inked by the former caretaker government.

According to an official statement, the 83rd meeting of the PIA Board of Directors decided to coordinate with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) for the privatization. Reportedly, the meeting also discussed various proposals on how to proceed with the employees of the organization.

The privatization of loss-making state-owned entities, particularly PIA, is a demand of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which Islamabad is hoping to secure an extended facility from after the conclusion of the ongoing $3 billion Standby Arrangement next month.

Separately, Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar is seeking the early resumption of PIA flights to the U.K., suspended since 2020 over concerns about legitimacy of pilot licenses. In 2020, then-aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had claimed in Parliament that a majority of pilots employed by the PIA had fraudulent licenses. This had triggered bans on PIA from various countries, causing hefty losses to the carrier and prompting an audit of the organization that failed to find evidence to support Sarwar’s claims.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Dar requested British Foreign Secretary David Cameron to facilitate the resumption of PIA flights from Pakistan to the U.K. to further boost linkages, particularly in view of the large Pakistani diaspora in Britain.

In a telephone call, the foreign minister also emphasized the early conclusion of the Enhanced Strategic Partnership agreement between the two countries to further strengthen bilateral ties. Reiterating the importance of Pakistan-U.K. relations, Dar noted both countries have longstanding, historic relations with multifaceted cooperation. He also underscored the need to enhance bilateral cooperation in trade, investment and people-to-people contacts and climate.

The Foreign Office said the two officials discussed important regional issues, including Afghanistan and the situation in Gaza. Dar, it said, invited Cameron to visit Pakistan and thanked him for his message of felicitations on his appointment as the foreign minister.

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