Mr Zardari who is in the US these days said in a statement released by the party’s Media Office here on Wednesday that it was necessary to unmask and punish the `trigger-happy personnel’ responsible for “totally unwarranted and criminal use of force against protesting employees using their legal right of protest against their threatened unemployment”.
He said he had been shocked by the killing of the PIA employees by allegedly `straight firing’, adding that those responsible for it must not go unpunished.
The PPP leader warned that the people would not permit a cover-up of the incident a la Model Town, Lahore incident some time back that resulted in the death of 14 innocent people.
“The incident has exposed the government’s inept handling, sheer panic and knee-jerk response resulting in the miserable failure in handling the PIA issues,” Mr Zardari said.
He said the double-speak of the federal ministers on privatisation, finding “strategic investor”, invoking the Essential Services Act to browbeat workers and the aviation adviser continuing to work despite having been restrained by the Supreme Court had raised serious questions and falsified claims of the government to transform the national airline from a loss-making state enterprise into a viable commercial entity.
“Resorting to gunfire at the airport when aircraft with hundreds of passengers were circling overhead was stupid and dangerous. The sheer stupidity and panic of the government is as appalling as it is unpardonable,” the PPP leader said.
“No doubt that with accumulated losses of nearly Rs300 billion threatening the national economy, the PIA is in a serious mess and needs to be reformed,” he said, adding that the threat to national economy from the mess of over Rs500 billion circular debt also needed to be addressed.
Despite sitting on a windfall gain of nearly $7 billion because of massive fall in petroleum prices, he said, the government’s inability to reform and turn around loss-making units with skill and confidence was pathetic.