KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) has categorically rejected allegations that the party hired its own workers in Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and said that this perception is totally wrong and he can say this with absolute surety that the PPP, from 2008-2013, did not have one person hired in the steel mills.
Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani, while addressing a press conference on Friday, said that PPP regularized workers appointed from 1996-2008 who were on contract basis.
The minister also warned that PPP will resist every move to sack about 9500 employees of PSM and said “Sindh government will stand with the workers and neither will we left them helpless.”
Saeed Ghani further said that Government of Sindh was the owner of the land on which the mills were built and any decision taken without CCI’s approval or taking provincial government into confidence will be unacceptable.
“The federal government should share its plan regarding the Pakistan Steel Mills with us, the Sindh government is willing to run it,” Saeed Ghani said.
“The government can take the liabilities and give the Mills to us, Sindh is ready to take over and run it,” he suggested.
Ghani said that the Centre’s decision to fire more than 9,500 workers of the mill and privatise it was unjust and the PPP will oppose it. “We will stand with all the employees and their families no matter what happens.”
He said that the government was using the Supreme Court’s decision to cover up its deeds. “In 2006, when the Steel Mills were privatised, a case was filed in the Supreme Court and the judge was against the decision,” the minister pointed.
The court has also stated that all matters pertaining the court should be approved and referred by the Council of Common Interests. The minister questioned whether the federal government has discussed this decision with them.
Ghani said that the PPP was being blamed for employing people in the Mills during their government. “During our tenure between 2008 and 2013, not even a single person from the party was employed in the Mills.
“We had only made those workers permanent who were working on a contract basis in the Mills even before we came into government,” the minister clarified, adding that this was legalised by the Pakistani law.
He added that the land of the Steel Mills was owned by the Sindh government and any decision taken should be discussed with them first. “We are still open listen to the Centre’s plans and help them out,” Ghani proposed.
He reiterated that privatisation will only increase controversies surrounding the Steel Mills and it will be better if it is still run by the government – if not federal, then provincial.
“Asad Umar, who seems to be the de-facto prime minister of the country these days, himself had said previously that he will not let the workers be fired,” the minister said, questioning what happened to his promises now.
Ghani added that he was looking forward to other parties of Sindh, such as the MQM, standing against the government’s decision in the upcoming cabinet session. – NNI