The Supreme Court of Pakistan has prohibited the government from selling shares in the flag carrier PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Islamabad Quaid-e-Azam Int'l) without prior explicit consent from the court, DAWN has reported. The Chief Justice is also demanding to establish personal responsibility for the carrier's losses.

"We want to know the cause of the loss and viewpoint of PIA's employees on the issue," Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has said.

Nisar has hinted that he may establish a special judiciary committee which would analyse, recalculate, and find culprits for the airline's debt. According to PIA's representative in court, over the last 17 years, the airline has lost a total of PKR260.39 billion rupees (USD3.12 billion).

The Supreme Court asked the carrier to submit a list of all executives over this period and banned them from leaving Pakistan without the court's permission.

"Those who have ruined this national asset are oppressors, enemies and traitors," the Chief Justice has said.

The current Pakistani government eyes to sell a 49% stake in the flag carrier this year, with the state remaining as the majority shareholder. While details of the divestment plan have not been outlined in detail yet, earlier media reports suggested that the government may hive off real estate and other non-core assets from the company, leaving only the aviation unit up for sale.