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No plan for privatisation of Pak Steel: Kaira

information  minister 1information minister 3Karachi: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira Wednesday categorically rejected the reports about privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM).

Kaira said there was not even a plan to run it under public-private partnership. The PPP will foil all the conspiracies against this very important organisation, which is a gift from Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to the nation, he added.

The minister said in the past as well, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had resisted all the attempts to sell the Pakistan Steel because it had special attachment with it. He said he also felt at home here.”The Pakistan Steel can be privatised only at the cost of our lives. We will stand guard to the PSM and not allow anyone to harm the sapling planted by the PPP founder and first elected prime minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. who had a great dream of industrial revolution behind this mill,” he added.

Kaira was addressing a gathering of PSM workers here at the mills main plant where “Jehez” cheques were distributed among them. The “Jehez” fund is a part of the charter of demands signed between the CBA and the management.

Minister of State for Water and Power Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi, Chief Executive Officer PSM Major Gen. (Retd) Muhammad Jawed, Chairman Pakistan Steel Peoples Workers Union (CBA) Shamshad Qureshi and other office-bearers of the union were also present.

The Federal Information Minister hoped that the PSM would soon become a profitable organisation as a result of policies and support from the PPP-led government, better PSM management and the commitment and hardwork of the employees. He, however, added that a big organisation like Pakistan Steel would take some time to revive.

To a demand from Chairman PSM Peoples Workers Union (CBA) Shamshad Qureshi, the Information Minister assured that he would take up the issues of Pakistan Steel, especially the release of balance amount of the bail-out package, with the Federal Government. He hoped Rs one billion would be released very soon.He said that the bail-out package was not only aimed at reviving the Pakistan Steel but also ensuring the welfare of its workers and their families.He said the PPP had always supported and protected the rights of workers. The PPP government wanted to hand over all public sector organizations to their workers. “Once the PSM becomes a profitable organization, the workers will have a significant percentage of its ownership.”He urged the workers and the management to make serious and sincere efforts for the revival and strengthening of PSM. It is very encouraging to see the management and workers stand together for its revival and expansion, he added.”Only answer to all conspiracies against Pakistan Steel Mills is to make it profitable. Here is a big potential to exploit,” he asserted.

The government not only wants to make the organization very profitable but create more jobs opportunities here, he said.
Highlighting the vision and philosophy of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the Shaheed leader had created awareness among the workers and labourers and gave them courage to get their legitimate rights from industrialists landlords and other powerful circles.”We are pursuing the same philosophy,” he added.

He said that it was because of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s support, love and respect for the workers and the poor that today even those who had never seen Bhutto were raising slogans “Zinda Haye Bhutto, Zinda Haye.”

The Information Minister said when the PPP-led government came into power in 2008, it inherited serious social, political and economic problems. Those included high inflation, power crisis, large scale un-employment and shortage of food stock. The most serious issue was the security threat from Taliban, who had occupied many areas of the country, he added.

The PPP leadership fulfilled the promise made by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to the nation that the terrorists, mainly Taliban, would be defeated and Pakistan’s flag would be hoisted in those areas occupied by them. Now the Taliban have been dispersed in small groups and they are now not in a single concentration, he added.

Kaira said during its first year of rule, the present government had to import 2.5 metric tonnes of wheat, besides a large quantity of sugar and red chilli and pulses.”Now the situation is totally different. With surplus wheat, sugar, rice and other commodities, we are in a position to export them,” he said.

Qamar Zaman Kaira highlighted the achievements of PPP-led government on social, economic and diplomatic fronts over the last five years.
He said the government had increased the salaries of employees by 150 per cent, given employment to a large number of people and regularised services of thousands of employees.He said the government had provided targeted subsidy to the poor in the shape of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Income Support Programme (BISP) instead of blanket one. More than 7 million families have been benefited
from this scheme, he said and added the government through skill development had made a large number of educated youth able to start their own business or find better jobs in local and international markets.He said against the previous government, the present government had taken certain measures to bridge the gap between the power supply and demand. However, the electricity demand increased by 1400 to 1500 MW every year due to more industrialisation and construction of new housing facilities, he added.

Kaira said that more than Rs 1800 billion was injected into the agriculture sector for the welfare of growers and strengthening the agriculture base.He said there was some problem of inflation but all this was due to global inflation, including the increase in oil prices.He said that it was worth appreciation that being a small economy Pakistan survived from the global economic recession which had hit many large economies.

Qamar Zaman Kaira, who is also the Central Information Secretary of PPP, said his party would clean sweep the next general elections.He said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was enjoyed full support of the nation.He expressed satisfaction over the verification process of voters’ lists. It is purely the job of ECP, which is doing its best, he added.
He criticised the policies of PML-N leadership and said the Punjab government had failed to deliver.”Let the elections come, we will tell the people about the PPP-led government’s achievements. The people are the best judges and we are sure they will vote for the PPP,” he said.

He said that the PML-N had discriminated against the people of South Punjab forcing them to demand for their separate province.He said the PPP had always respected the judiciary.He urged the media to be careful while reporting judicial proceedings.

Unlike the past, he said, the office of President of Pakistan was being used to strengthen democracy.

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