It is shameful to read Sherry Rehman’s statement regarding Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). She claims that the current Government is not being fair to PSM, an organisation that has 1,600 employees and its production has not exceeded 17% in the last decade. The Minister also claims that with stoppage of SSGC supply to the company the PML-N will destroy it, while in the same breath she claimed that the company was suffering from ‘stagnant’ production due to low gas pressure, low water pressure and disruptive water supply. I wish she had done some home work before giving out statements. Qaim Ali Shah also agreed with her and said that 1,600 employees and thousands of indirect beneficiaries would lose livelihood.

Both these dignitaries failed to highlight the costly history of PSM, the company was generating of 2.7 billion profits in 2007, when it was privatised by the Musharraf’s government. Although an excellent deal, the union of PSM got the privatisation reversed through the Sindh High Court in 2007. Since then the production has gone down to 5%, while its staff rose from the required 900 personnel to 1600! The company that once used to supply 20% of steel to Pakistan, now supplies nothing. Since 2007, the employees of PSM have coaxed and tricked the government into paying their salaries, promising higher production in the future.

Since 2007, PSM employees have received Rs 25 billion every year, as government grant, which is mostly paid in salaries, while nothing was spent on repairs, maintenance or raw material procurement. The PPP led Government has been instrumental in paying 25 billion, from government account every year for PSM employees, can anyone ask why? The amount and dates are all available online and published in newspapers.

In total the PPP led government paid more than 150 billion Rupees to PSM in their government. While the PSM employees have been gracious enough to add another 500 billion rupees as company liabilities, which has to be paid by the tax payer’s money. I was ashamed to see such a statement from vice president of PPP, whose party led Government had destroyed a once profitable PSM, while creating billions of rupees liabilities and burden for us with no benefit to anyone, except the illegally high number of employees at PSM who were getting free pay and extra benefits without doing any work.

Why should the people care about 1,600 useless employees, who have wasted billions while refusing to work or increase production? Why should the people of Pakistan listen to the vice president of PPP, whose Government has failed to fix this issue during their five year tenure?

ENGR. MUHAMMAD BASEER KHAN,

Peshawar, July 27.