Pakistan is on way to selling its National assets to Foreign Countries

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The cabinet has approved an ordinance through which Pakistan will be able to sell stakes in its National assets to other countries. The approval comes as there is an urgent and dire need for the country to gather money to avoid facing a default. The ordinance will bypass all the lengthy procedures which were required in the past. 

The Inter-Governmental Transactions Ordinance 2022

Provincial Governments Lose Their Say

This ordinance has empowered the center to issue binding instructions to the Provincial Governments for land acquisition. This has been done to speed up the process as the center removes a hurdle, (Provincial Governments) in its path for the swift sale of national assets. 

Power to issue binding instructions.– (1) The federal government may issue appropriate directions to a provincial government, local government, agency, or authority concerned to implement the objective of the inter-governmental commercial transaction including land acquisition, rehabilitation, and re-settlement, provision of utility services, construction of approach roads to the main highways and such other activities of similar nature. A direction issued under sub-section (1) shall be binding.

The Courts Are Barred from Acting On Petitions
As per the ordinance, the government has barred courts to not entertaining any petition which would be raised against the sale of any of the national assets to foreign companies & countries. This takes away the right of anyone who wants to revoke the decision to sell a national asset. The government has made itself the only deciding party in this.

Bar of jurisdiction. – No court shall entertain an application, petition, or suit against any process or act undertaken or done, intended or purported to be undertaken or done under this ordinance.

(2) No court shall grant an injunction or entertain any application for an injunction against any process undertaken, intended, or purported to be undertaken for a commercial transaction or agreement under this ordinance.

Ordinance Yet to Be Signed by The President.
The ordinance has not yet been signed by the President of Pakistan, Arif Alvi, but has passed through the highest deciding power which is the Cabinet. The President is supposed to sign any ordinance coming his way unless he feels that this is against the interest of the nation. 
Why The Urgency?
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail explained that it usually took 471 days to complete one privatization transaction. But drastic times call for drastic measures and the government had to conclude deals with foreign companies as there is an urgent need to raise funds. 
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has placed a condition that Pakistan’s case could not be taken to the board until it arranged $4 billion from friendly countries to bridge the financing gap. 
It seems that the government is interested in selling stakes of oil and gas companies and government-owned power plants to the UAE to raise $2 billion to $2.5 billion to avoid the looming default. 
The government has adopted the road to privatization to foreign countries & companies to avoid a crisis that Pakistan faces. With the depreciating rupee, the absurd imbalance in our payments & the default crisis, Pakistan has to against its will, make decisions that are probably against its National interest in the long term but will save the country as it battles for its survival. 

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Shaafay Zia
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