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November 29, 2020

Sindh warns of reclaiming Steel Mills land if not used properly

Karachi

November 29, 2020

The Sindh government owns the land of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) in Karachi, and so it reserves the right to reclaim its possession if it is not used for the purpose it was allotted, Barrister Murtaza Wahab has warned.

The provincial government’s spokesman, who is also the chief minister’s adviser on law and environment, gave the warning while addressing a news conference on Saturday.

Wahab condemned the decision of retrenchment of a large number of PSM workers. He put forth the demand on behalf of the provincial government that the sacked workers be reinstated.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised to give 10 million jobs to people across the country, but in reality, the employees of his own government had been forced to hold protests.

The adviser said the Sindh government stands with the retrenched PSM workers, adding that the provincial administration will hold protests for them and also raise the issue in parliament. He said Federal Planning & Development Minister Asad Umar should deliver on his promises to the PSM employees before coming to power.

Wahab said a PSM worker had lost his life the other day because he could not survive the tragedy of retrenchment. He said nobody can deny the link between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the PSM.

He also said that there is another piece of land near PIB Colony in the city that the PM wants to usurp. However, the adviser did not elaborate on his claim.

He said that the latest restrictions being imposed by the federal government against the spread of the novel coronavirus are in fact meant to target the PPP.

Using the pretext of Covid-19, the federal authorities have been creating a narrative against the Sindh government and the Pakistan Democratic Movement, he added. He also said Umar had addressed his party’s supporters in Sukkur earlier in the day and no social distance was observed during the event.

The adviser said that earlier, the strict measures of the provincial government against the spread of coronavirus had been imposed by the Centre. He said that conflicting statements given by the rulers have caused much damage in the war on Covid-19.

He recalled that in the earlier days of the pandemic, whenever the Sindh government had introduced strict safety measures, the PM used to say that people should not worry because the novel coronavirus was much like the common flu.

‘Cruel act’

Pak Sarzameen Party Chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal said the government’s sacking of 4,554 PSM employees with an abrupt signature is a “cruel act”, according to a statement issued on Saturday.

“The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government came to power with the tall claims of providing employment to the people, but contrary to every promise made, it has taken a U-turn on every promise.”

The former city mayor said that no support was given to the private industry at government level to create employment opportunities, nor were steps taken to increase the efficiency of public institutions. He recalled that Umar had promised to resign if any kind of injustice was done to PSM employees.

Kamal said that in the wake of the Covid-19 destruction, the overnight dismissal letters sent to the employees is like awarding death sentences to them and their 4,554 families. As a result, an employee lost his life due to shock and anguish, he pointed out.

“This is not a natural death but murder, and the federal government is responsible for this death. We have repeatedly said that institutions are being destroyed in the tug of war between the government and the opposition. The country can’t be run like this. A grand national dialogue is needed.”

He said the people are suffering the consequences of the decisions made out of personal ego, anger and nepotism. “It seems like the people in power don’t remember death. Only destruction and ruin are in store because of the decisions made by the oblivious ruling elite,” he added.

“We have to be conscious, otherwise the coming generations will remember us as evil and cruel characters of the country who will have to be accounted for in the hereafter as well.”

Kamal announced his support for all the legitimate demands of the PSM employees and urged the government to set aside political hatred and for once consider the 4,554 employees’ families as humans.

“The government must talk to the opposition in accordance with the constitutional requirements in the national interest and end the ongoing constitutional crisis in the country.”

He again called for a grand national dialogue so that a comprehensive national-level future course of action can be devised for all institutions and the country can be put on the right track.

‘An economic murder’

The Jamaat-e-Islami’s Karachi and Malir district chiefs said that to lay off thousands of Steel Mills employees was a reprehensible and a shameful act as well as an economic murder.

In a joint statement, Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman and Amir Muhammad Islam strongly condemned the forcible dismissals of more than 4,500 employees of the company by the federal government and Steel Mills management.

They said that laying off thousands of employees was a shameful and tragic act, as the employment and future of thousands of families depended on this organisation.

Darkening their future and depriving them of jobs was an economic murder of thousands of families, they remarked. The Jamaat-e-Islami leaders added that they were with all the workers and officers of the Steel Mills and would never leave them alone.

Their case would be fought in the courts, in government houses and in the field, and the employees should not consider themselves alone, they said.

They noted that the case of the Steel Mill employees was also pending in the Supreme Court, which had taken notice of the dismissals of over 4,500 employees.

Before coming to power, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Planning Minister Asad Umar had repeatedly announced and promised from the PTI platform that they would restore the Steel Mills and protect the jobs of thousands of employees, but, unfortunately, like his other promises and announcements, the PM had forgotten about this promise and fired thousands of employees, the statement said.

The JI leaders said their party had always strived for the rehabilitation of the Steel Mills and the protection of employment of its employees.

Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan emir Senator Sirajul Haq had also raised this issue in the Senate and stood by the employees recently.