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Jamaat-e-Islami announces support for campaign against PSM’s privatisation


June 1, 2020

The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has announced its support for the campaign against privatisation of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and planned lay-offs of workers from the state institutions.

A delegation of the PSM’s various trade union bodies headed by Muhammad Asim Bhatti, the president of the Pakistan Steel Labour Union (PASLU), called on JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman and informed him about the current situation of the PSM, the government's plans to privatise it and sufferings of its workers.

The delegation said the PSM was set up with the assistance of Russians and they had again offered Pakistan to restructure the state institution. “But instead of working on the revival plan, the government has been planning to privatise the PSM and lay off thousands of workers,” said Bhatti. “In fact, they are following the anti-workers policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”

Bhatti said the PSM chairman and the industrial production division had been working on a plan fpr retrenchment of PSM workers. The fact that the enterprise was sold for a fraction of its actual value is evidence of the underhanded nature of the deal, he said.

Bhatti added that there were six to seven registered trade union bodies, including a CBA, in the PSM. “But no one has been taken into confidence regarding the future of the enterprise.” Aslam Janjua, another member of the delegation, said the government should hold those accountable who destroyed the PSM and punish them.

“It is the state’s fault that it is not capable of running the PSM, not the workers’,” he said, adding that since 2013, more than 9,000 retired workers and officers had been waiting for their dues. “Among them, around 1,000 have died.”

Janjua said Prime Minister Imran Khan and federal minister Asad Umar, before coming into power, had assured that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was against the PSM’s privatisation. “But now, its government has been discussing the idea to privatise the enterprise.”

The JI Karachi chief assured the delegation that the JI was with the PSM workers in the anti-privatisation campaign. “The PMS needs revival, not privatisation,” he said.

He also warned the government to refrain from taking any severe acts, such as laying off workers. “Instead, a plan should be devised to make the national entity stand on its own feet.”

The delegation included PASLU General Secretary Ali Haider Gabol, vice presidents Daud Khan, Asad Awan and Hafiz Waqas and others. JI Karachi Deputy Emir Dr Osama Razi accompanied Rehman.