Opposition lashes govt over retrenchment of Pakistan Steel Mills employees

Opposition has strongly criticized the government for sacking Pakistan Steel Mills employees and going back on its promise to not privatize the entity on Friday.

PML-N’s Senator Mushahidullah said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had said in the past that he would demonstrate to everyone how the steel mills can be properly run.

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Senator Siraj ul Haq criticised the government and questioned how it could sack employees of the steel mills when it had promised to provide one million jobs to the people.

Federal Minister of Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said that the Pakistan Steel Mills couldn’t be revived or privatized during the PPP and the PML-N’s tenures. He said that Rs35bn had been paid during the past five years from the taxpayers’ pockets to the steel mills employees.

Earlier, terming the Pakistan Steel Mills as a “white elephant”, Azhar had said that the government had decided to privatize it as it had become a burden on the national exchequer.

He had said that the PSM employees had not been working for the last many years and now they would get a financial package of around Rs2.3 million per employee as compensation. Besides, he said, employees could also contribute to productivity in the private sector.

Azhar said that the PSM turned from a profit-making institution to one that was running in losses in the 2008-09 tenure of the PPP government and its operational works were shut down during the PML-N government.

The minister had further said that with this decision, the government would save Rs700 million of the people’s hard-earned taxes a month. He said that the Supreme Court also wondered why the government was paying the workers of a closed mill.