Islamabad, Feb 12 (IANS) Employees of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Friday night called off their week-long strike that affected flight services badly in the country after the resignation of the national carrier’s managing director.
The PIA workers ended the strike after a meeting between their leaders and senior ministers.
The leaders of PIA employees’ joint action committee (JAC) were summoned for a meeting with Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar to resolve the deadlock.
“This situation is a cause of concern for us and we could not allow things to drift like this,” said Malik briefing the media after the meeting while.
“We are a pro-worker government and will do everything to address their concerns,” he assured.
“I am announcing here that MD, PIA has tendered his resignation from the post and it has been accepted with immediate effect,” Mukhtar said, adding that “the agreement with Turkish airline would also not go ahead”.
“This agreement was never presented before the ministry or other relevant authorities. There is no way that we can compromise on the interests of our national institutions,” he pointed out.
The employees were protesting against the authoritarian handling of affairs by PIA managing director Ijaz Haroon, a close associate of President Asif Ali Zardari, and an alleged agreement with the Turkish airline that is believed to hand over cash-rich international routes to the Turkish partner and create further financial difficulties for the national carrier.
The MD’s move to terminate the services of JAC leaders had turned the protest violent and scuffles with law enforcement officials were witnesses at airports across the country. More than 6,000 passengers were severely affected by the total shut down of flight operations.
Haroon’s resignation prompted celebration among the strikers.
Representative of JAC Sohail Baloch thanked the ministers “for taking timely stock of the situation to resolve the crisis and praised his own comrades, who braved through testing times to stand united for achieving their goals”.
“Our struggle was for just causes and we had no personal objectives. I want to assure the government that flight operations will resume from midnight (of Friday and Saturday) and we’ll do our utmost to revive PIA’s precarious situation within six months”.