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ECP Instructs Government To Halt PIA Sale

ECP Instructs Government To Halt PIA Sale

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has once again intervened in governmental proceedings, this time urging the caretaker government to suspend its plans for the privatization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). This directive comes on the heels of the ECP’s recent interference in the restructuring of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

In a letter addressed to the cabinet secretary, the ECP has explicitly requested the caretaker government to refrain from progressing with any actions related to the privatization of PIA. This includes holding off on the signing of any agreements until the Election Commission reaches a decision in accordance with Section 230 of the Constitution.

Read more: PIA Loses Another Valuable Entity To Canada

The ECP’s communication, strategically timed less than a week before the general election, serves as a regulatory check on the caretaker government’s initiatives. The Commission has stipulated that relevant documentation, prepared for Cabinet approval, must be provided. This encompasses a comprehensive privatization program for PIA, as mandated by Clause 5(b) of the Privatisation Commission Ordinance, 2000, and Section 230 of the Constitution.

Notably, the Election Commission’s involvement in matters beyond election administration has become a pattern. Last week, the ECP conveyed to Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, advising against major reforms in the FBR. The Election Commission recommended deferring such significant decisions for consideration by the incoming elected government following the General Elections in 2024.

“The Election Commission of Pakistan, being responsible to conduct elections under Article 218 (3) of the Constitution, is also obligated to highlight the role and actions not to be performed by the caretaker Government in terms of Section 230 of the Act ibid,” emphasized the ECP in a letter dated January 30th.

The Election Commission categorically stated that the proposed overhaul of the FBR represents a major policy decision, a prerogative exclusively held by an elected government. This stance underscores the ECP’s commitment to delineate the boundaries of the caretaker government’s authority, ensuring that crucial policy decisions are left to the discretion of the incoming elected government.

In conclusion, the Election Commission of Pakistan’s recent directive to the caretaker government, urging a pause in the privatization of PIA, adds another layer to its involvement in matters extending beyond election administration. The Commission’s emphasis on following constitutional provisions and deferring significant policy decisions aligns with its role in safeguarding democratic processes and ensuring a smooth transition of power following elections.