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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Govt plan to outsource 3 airports to int’l operators divides opinion

PM Shehbaz gave a go-ahead for the outsourcing of Jinnah International Airport Karachi, Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore, and Islamabad International Airport under the public-private partnership.

The PML-N led federal government’s decision to outsource three major airports in Pakistan has divided public opinion on social media.

The federal government on Friday planned to outsource three international airports including Karachi’s Jinnah, Lahore’s Allama Iqbal, and Islamabad’s international airport.

While reacting to the government’s plan of outsourcing the airports, some netizens took it as another loss for Pakistan, accusing the incumbent government of being incompetent and having poor governance.

Read more: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar heckled at airport in USA

“Is this government capable of doing anything right? Are there no capable people left in Pakistan? This is a shame and disgrace,” one netizen wrote.

“The government is going to outsource Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad airports for the next 20-25 years to attract foreign investment. I don’t see the day very far when the government will outsource itself to foreign politicians,” another Twitter user said.

On the other hand, the decision was also appreciated by some netizens, for instance, journalist Ahmed Quraishi said that the decision to outsource three international airports to global investors is a good move.

“Effective decision to outsource airports, but small inroads unless PIA has been restructured, liquidated or at least outsourced. Tough times tough decisions,” one netizen said.

Govt plans to outsource airports

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while presiding over the session on aviation and Pakistan International Airline (PIA) affairs, directed to initiate the process of outsourcing under public-private partnership.

In April 2017, the then prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif had approved the policy to outsource the management of the country’s three main airports. On Friday, PM Shehbaz gave a go-ahead for the outsourcing of Jinnah International Airport Karachi, Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore, and Islamabad International Airport under the public-private partnership.

Read more: Islamabad, Karachi airports to be administered by Qatari companies

The PM also formed a committee comprising Federal Minister for aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique and federal secretary for aviation, Federal Minister for planning and development Ahsan Iqbal, and Federal Law minister Azam Nazir Tarar to overlook the process.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Shehbaz Sharif said that under the outsourcing process all relevant departments should take the required steps efficiently, adding that transparency must be ensured during the exercise.

The meeting was informed that outsourcing of airports is a “normal profit-seeking practice” throughout the world.