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Caretaker Cabinet Approves Special Tribunal for Privatization Cases

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On Friday, the interim federal cabinet granted its final approval for a presidential ordinance paving the way for the establishment of a special tribunal. This tribunal, led by either a sitting Supreme Court or high court judge, will exclusively handle cases related to the privatization of state-owned entities. With the cabinet’s green light, the common practice of challenging privatization decisions in various courts will be replaced.

A member of the federal cabinet, choosing to remain anonymous, confirmed the approval of the ordinance through circulation. The objective of this decision is to boost investor confidence by centralizing challenges to the privatization of state-owned entities within the newly established special tribunal. Any decisions made by this tribunal can only be contested in the Supreme Court.

In addition, the cabinet endorsed presidential ordinances concerning the privatization of four financially struggling state-owned enterprises: Radio Pakistan, National Highway Authority, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), and Pakistan Post Office. The approved ordinances, altering the management and governance structure of these entities, stipulate that PNSC, Radio Pakistan, and Pakistan Post will now operate under independent boards.

This initiative aligns with the caretaker government’s commitment to meeting a condition set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the release of the next tranche of $700 million under the $3 billion Standby Arrangement.

Upon the recommendation of caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, President Arif Alvi signed the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation Amendment Ordinance 2023, NHA Amendment Ordinance 2023, Pakistan Postal Services Management Board Amendment Ordinance 2023, and Pakistan National Shipping Corporation Amendment Ordinance 2023. These ordinances establish independent boards for the mentioned institutions, featuring six to eleven members from the private sector—a departure from the previous composition of civil servants. These members will receive salaries and other allowances.

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