Steel Mills privatisation is a land grabbing attempt: Sindh CM
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday said the termination of Pakistan Steel Mills workers was part of the privatisation plan which actually aimed at grabbing the precious land, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
He was talking to reporters outside the Karachi Registry after appearing in the Supreme Court which had ordered him to appear in person immediately for Tuesday’s hearing of the encroachments case.
When asked about the protest being staged by the sacked workers, he said the PPP was standing by the Steel Mills workers and made it clear that the land for different federal projects always belonged to the provinces which could reclaim that once the purpose for such allotment was violated.
“We are ready for takeover and provide a revival plan,” said the chief minister as he told media persons he was going to meet the protesting workers and added that the Steel Mills was a gift of late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, which had been destroyed systematically.
These remarks about the Steel Mills came as the sacked employees gathered outside the Karachi Registry of Supreme Court where Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed is currently hearing various cases related to the port city.
Chanting slogans against the federal government, the protesters say their sacking is illegal and the chief justice must take notice of their sacking as his orders have been wrongly presented by the Centre.
According to the protesters, Prime Minister Imran Khan has not fulfilled any of his promises and their termination is a clear signal that the Steel Mills is moving towards closure.
They mentioned that the services of 4,544 Steel Mills staffers – around 1,400 officers and 3,100 workers from Scale 2 to 3 – had been terminated without any reason. Moreover, their salaries were also not increased since 2009, they added.
The court orders these protesters are referring to were issued in March this year when Chief Justice Gulzar, heading a three-member bench, had asked the government asked to lay off all employees and appoint new people if it wanted to keep the Steel Mills running.
During the proceedings, the chief justice had said that the Steel Mills had been closed since 2015 but the employees were still receiving their salaries.
But later in July, the Supreme Court, interestingly, questioned the federal government’s initiative to revamp the ailing Steel Mills and warned the plan might lead to a disaster.
Whatever the management was planning would only create hurdles by burdening the courts with more 5,000 cases, Chief Justice Gulzar remarked.