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Federal Cabinet Approves Special Tribunal for Privatization Disputes

The caretaker federal cabinet granted its final approval on Friday to a presidential ordinance for the establishment of a special tribunal.

This tribunal, to be headed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court or a high court, will exclusively handle cases related to the privatization of state-owned entities.

With the cabinet’s approval, the customary practice of contesting privatization decisions in various courts will cease to exist. A member of the federal cabinet, who preferred not to be named, confirmed the ordinance’s approval through circulation.

The decision aims to instill confidence in investors by ensuring that challenges to the privatization of state-owned entities can only be lodged in the newly established special tribunal, and any decisions made by this tribunal can be challenged only in the Supreme Court.

Additionally, 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, which change the management and governance structure of these entities, indicate that PNSC, Radio Pakistan, and Pakistan Post will now operate under independent boards.

This move is part of the caretaker government’s efforts to meet 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.

On the counsel 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, comprising six to eleven members from the private sector, a departure from the previous composition of civil servants, and these members will receive salaries and other allowances.

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