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Pervaiz Rashid says action to be taken against protesting PIA workers

ISLAMABAD, Feb 01 (DNA): Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Pervaiz Rashid categorically warned that his government would sack PIA employees who were found involved in taking part in strike.“I assure that no PIA employee will be sacked by the administration. But those who take part in the strike will be fired,” Rashid told media persons in Islamabad.

His statement came in the backdrop of promulgation of Essential Services Maintenance Act for six month, a move which drew strong condemnations from PIA employees and the opposition PPP.

Under the new act, all PIA unions have been banned for six months.

Meanwhile, PIA workers, who are staging a sit-in, rejected the act and vowed to shut down countrywide operations from Tuesday.

“The protesting employees will be dealt with iron hand,” Rashid said, adding that those fired would not be hired again.

“We will clip the wings of demonstrators and have also made alternate arrangements to fill the void,” he added.

The information minister said that there were only 18 planes when the PML-N government assumed charge. “We have increased the number of PIA planes from 18 to 40,” he added.

Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has approved the Compulsory Service Maintenance act 1952 on Monday for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). After the implementation of the Act, all of the unions of PIA dissolved and the protest became illegal.

The Prime Minister approved the summary forwarded by Aviation Division that dissolved all PIA unions and the protesting workers of PIA will be sacked from their offices from tomorrow. The employees can even get a jail term if they continue to protest.

Meanwhile, the PIA Joint Action Committee (JAC) strongly condemned the step taken by the prime minister.

During a press conference in Karachi, the protesting PIA employees said that their deadline of ceasing flight operations from Tuesday at 7am, will not change. The chairman Joint Action Committee said that protest is their legal right but they are ready for dialogue with the government.

Chairman JAC further said that their next framework will be made after reading the notification. PIA employees continued their protest against privatization of PIA in different cities and boycotted office work. DNA

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