Karachi : Amid a severe financial crisis plaguing Pakistan on multiple fronts, frustration among the population has reached its peak as the government has decided to privatise the country's national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
The dire financial situation has cast a shadow over various sectors of the Pakistani economy, with PIA now going for privatisation as a potential solution.
The decision comes in the wake of Pakistan's efforts to fulfil the terms of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal and explore the outsourcing of airport operations.
In Karachi, the bustling economic hub and Pakistan's largest city, local residents have voiced their concerns, primarily attributing the financial woes of PIA to alleged government and bureaucratic corruption.
One Karachi resident expressed deep frustration, saying, "We are not progressing because our leaders are incompetent. They are privatizing it because there is a union there; it is happening because of them. If the government and the leaders were capable, we would have reached the moon too. Our leaders are corrupt. All they think about is filling their own coffers and not giving any attention to the welfare of the people. They are now considering privatizing the airline. What this essentially means is that we are good for nothing; let the private sector take charge of affairs. What are we going to receive if everything goes into the hands of private individuals?"
Another Karachi resident pointed out the exorbitant ticket fares, stating, "Earlier, PIA ticket fares used to cost us (PKR) 2000-3000. But now, the ticket fares are exorbitantly high. And you know who is responsible for this? The staff of PIA, from the General Manager to the pilots, all draw fat salaries. Just visit Karachi airport once, and you will see that you are made to pay all sorts of taxes. The system has become corrupt. If people from other countries can successfully run this airline, whether they are from China or anywhere else, then why can't the people of Pakistan run it? Ministers and Prime Ministers have always focused on filling their own pockets. The secretaries are corrupt too. They should be held accountable for what they have done to the country."
Another Karachi resident lamented the decline of PIA, saying, "Pakistan International Airlines used to have educated people. However, as soon as political parties entered into their affairs, the airline not only witnessed a stagnant phase but also accrued losses."
The sentiments expressed by Karachi's residents reflect widespread dissatisfaction with the state of PIA and broader concerns about corruption and mismanagement within the government and bureaucracy.
Privatization has been a contentious issue in Pakistan, with some citizens hoping it will bring efficiency and profitability to the troubled airline, while others worry about its potential impact on the workforce and national interests.