Airports to be outsourced to foreign firms: Shibli Faraz

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s airports will be outsourced to international firms and a committee to overlook the relevant process has been formed under Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan.
This was stated by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz on Tuesday while apprising the media of the cabinet meeting.
Faraz said the first agenda point was a discussion on airports across the country and how to outsource them. The government, he said, is looking for “any international firm that has experience in operating and managing airports”.
This, the minister added, is being carried out in order to bring Pakistan’s airports up to international standards and implement and install all those facilities that are available at major airports in key countries around the world. The cabinet meeting was informed that some people have already shown interest in the matter, he added.
“However, we are separating it lawfully, wherein there’s Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority that will act as a regulatory authority and a second body corporate. A date has been set for June 30 this year. The legal framework has to be clarified by then so that we can start tendering and we have some progress in that regard with international parties and steps are taken to outsource the airports,” Faraz added.
In this regard, a committee that will fast track the process has been formed under the federal minister for aviation. It also includes Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari, the chairperson of the Board of Investment (BoI), and Babar Awan and Abdul Razzak Dawood, the advisers to PM on parliamentary affairs and commerce, industry, and investment, respectively. This committee will take the process forward, the minister said.
He said that another matter that was brought under review was the share of water for each province and the Indus River System Authority (IRSA). He said the government wishes to introduce a transparent system for water distribution. Unfortunately, the telemetry system has been politicised and a specific interest group has hindered its implementation, he added
The Prime Minister has given strict instructions, he said, adding the progress of members of Sindh, Punjab, and the federation has been very weak and a proper inquiry needs be initiated against them.
Faraz noted that people who can take the telemetry system forward should be hired. The mechanism, he added, ensures recording of how much water is supplied to each province. “The provinces have always complained about not getting their fair share of water,” he stated.
The federal minister also criticised former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif and said the PML-N president should respond to SAPM on Accountability Shahzad Akbar’s questions instead of calling for fresh elections.
The minister stressed that the incumbent PTI government would complete its constitutional tenure as people of Pakistan had rejected the PML-N in the 2018 general elections. “People chose Prime Minister Imran Khan with confidence,” he noted.
He said, “People gave us the mandate just to carry out accountability and we will not let them go this time!”
“A crime is a crime, whether it is for a penny or a trillion. The list will be finalised by next week and when everything comes out and is released, we will share it with the public and media,” he said.
“The sugar report will be in your hands soon and you will be lauding us for it. I assure you that the next time you are here, the decisions and the report will be in your hands. They used to say that the committee won’t be formed but the committee has been set up. The report will be released before Eid-ul-Fitr,” he added.
He appealed to the opposition parties not to indulge in political point-scoring on the coronavirus as national unity is needed to defeat the contagion. He said the government is maintaining a balance between economic activities and preventive measures against the coronavirus pandemic.
He said restart of the trains operation has been allowed from Wednesday, with Railway Divisional Headquarters is responsible to implement the SOPs.
Similarly, he said, the industrial sector has also been allowed to operate for facilitation of the business class. However, the industrialists would have to ensure implementation of the preventive measures against the coronavirus. The industry would be allowed to run even during the Eid holidays.
Shibli Faraz said the production of protective equipment against the coronavirus has been started in Pakistan and the surplus products would be exported as well.
He warned that restrictions could be re-imposed if the people do not adopt self-discipline despite undergoing the painful experience previously.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed to clear all outstanding dues of media houses before Eid. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was briefed about outstanding dues of various media houses owed to different ministries. He said the Prime Minister instructed all the ministries to clear their dues so that media houses can pay salaries and outstanding amounts of media workers before Eidul Fitr.
The Minister said Imran Khan also sought detail of illegal recruitment in various ministries and 27 divisions and departments of the federal governments submitted a list of 638 such people who were inducted in violation of laid down procedure. He said rest of the ministries have been directed to submit detail of illegal recruitment in one week. He said action is being taken against illegal recruitments from August 2016 onwards.
Answering a question, the Minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan will address to the World Economic Forum tomorrow, via video link. He said Imran Khan would talk about his initiative for global debt relief.
Faraz said the cabinet has also approved export of locally manufactured surplus protective gear regarding COVID-19.
He said the cabinet also approved appointment of community welfare attaches in various countries to facilitate overseas Pakistanis there. – TLTP