The National Assembly was informed today (Wednesday) that the government has taken a number of steps to improve the performance of Pakistan International Airlines.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad told the House during question hour that these include cash injection of 16 billion rupees for debt servicing and to acquire aircraft on lease, acquiring four narrow body aircraft on wet lease from Turkey and Czech Republic for three months, financing for acquisition of 11 narrow body aircraft on dry lease, sovereign guarantees to GE Company for overhauling of 777 engines, cost cutting measures and fuel and route rationalization.

He said government also plans to divest 26 percent share of PIA to a strategic partner with complete management within a period of one year through the Privatization Commission.

Shaikh Aftab said presently there is no consideration by PIA to reduce fares on international flights as these fares are in line with competitors.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid told the House that programming content being aired on private satellite TV channels are generally in accordance with the prescribed Code of Conduct devised under PEMRA Rules 2009 as well as social, cultural and religious values of the country.

The Minister said in certain cases, where violations were committed, PEMRA took cognizance. In some instances fines were imposed on these TV channels and license of one TV channel was also proposed to be revoked.

Pervaiz Rashid said outstanding dues amounting to 255 million rupees of various advertising agencies are payable by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Prime Minister has constituted a committee to solve this matter.

In a written reply, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said that during the last five years Radio Pakistan aired special programmes on IDPs of Swat, 2010 floods, dengue and other epidemic diseases, general elections 2013 besides establishing emergency Radio Station at Attaabad.

He said Radio Pakistan also informed the people on social, economic cultural, educational, religious issues in programmes, broadcast from 67 broadcasting units.

The Minister said at present, entire district Chitral is being covered by the medium wave 400 KW transmitter installed at Peshawar and 100 KW transmitter from D. I. Khan. He said in near future, district Chitral will also be covered by 500 KW transmitter being installed at Faqeerabad.

Responding to a call attention notice moved by Tahira Aurangzeb and others, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad said the government employees who are disabled during their service are given pension and benefits till the age of 60 after the decision of medical board.

Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid on behalf of Finance Minister presented the Second Quarterly Report for the year 2013-14 of the State Bank of Pakistan on the state of Pakistan’s economy.

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