ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday hinted at closing down the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), if the management refuses to improve its performance.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, hearing the case of employees’ promotion, noted that the management is responsible for the PSM’s downfall.
The bench has summoned Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar, Privatisation Minister Muhammad Mian Soomro, Industry and Production Minister Muhammad Hammad Azhar, and the secretaries of these departments on February 9th.
The chief justice said the mills that have been closed do not need a managing director or CEO.
These offices are nothing but a burden on the national treasury.
He said the PSM “does not practically exist”; therefore, the court will “order for the closure of the mills and the removal of all the PSM employees.”
He remarked that the management worked together and took decisions that affected the mills, adding no wrongdoing could take place without the concurrence of the management.
“Has the government launched any investigation against the management?” the CJP asked.
Justice Ahmed strongly reprimanded the management of the PSM, and questioned that if the mills are non-functional, then why is the management still working there.
“Since the mills are non-functional, there is no need for a managing director or chief executive to run it," the chief justice remarked.
"PSM officers are a burden on the national exchequer. All the officers should be removed first before firing the employees.”
Justice Ahmed said except Pakistan, the steel mills all over the world are functioning and profiting.
However, in the country, the PSM has hired more staff than required without having to do any work.
The counsel for the PSM employees stated that the daily expenses of the mill have been reduced from Rs20 million to Rs10 million.
The chief justice stated that from today onwards, no employee of the PSM will be paid as the mills are not generating any profit.
Why should employees be paid for doing nothing? he added.
The bench observed that some PSM officers “did not work even for a day from the time of their recruitment until their retirement.”
“Who will pay the debt of Rs212 billion incurred by the mills?”
The chief justice further remarked that "no federal secretary is working in the country and their jobs have been reduced to writing letters, which is the job description of clerks.”
“It is not clear why the government has employed secretaries when they do not have any work to do?” he questioned.
“The country has been ruined and governmental secretaries are afraid that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will catch them.” Justice Ahmed said the remaining 3,700 employees of the steel mills will be dismissed today, adding that 390 out of 437 officers of the mill will also be removed from their services today.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021