On 3rd June, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved the supreme court’s request to dismiss 9350 Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) employees with ambiguous golden handshakes. People criticized this decision as it would be yet another u-turn by PTI’s government. From the point of view of neoliberal economists, the decision might be prudent but it didn’t go well with the critics of the current government that vehemently oppose this during its days in opposition. What people are discussing on social media is not about the significance of this decision but the response from Asad Umar, the Minister for Planning and Development of Pakistan.
They posted a clip of an old speech of Umar that showed him speaking for PSM workers’ rights. In the viral clip, he can be heard saying that he would stand by the PSM workers even when his party’s government lays them off.
Asad Umar Promising To Stand with PSM Workers
This is the speech that was given in the 2017 referendum of PSM that was won by Insaaf Labor Union.
He confidently claimed if PTI came to power and stood against PSM workers, he would personally stand with the workers instead of his own party. Now the public wants him to display that confidence again and deliver on his promise after so many workers will be left unemployed.
Public Reposting The Old Asad Umar’s Speech
People remembered the speech and the bold claim by the PTI member. They tagged him and started posting the clip from the speech in order to remind him about the actions he should be taking right now.
A lecturer at FC college reminded Umar that the workers have called a protest so the public would be hoping for Umar to join the protest and fight for their rights.
People are shocked because it is the same government that has put everyone’s life at risk by lifting coronavirus lockdown with a narrative of poor people and now released 9000+ employees; most of which are manual labor (poor).
The purpose was getting his attention so some users did not hesitate to reveal some dark truths that can be hurtful for Asad Umar.
It cannot be said where Umar is or why he hasn’t responded to this call by the public. One user was rather sarcastic about the intentions of Asad Umar
People who were not interested in posting the video only did it because Asad Umar said so himself
Response From The Federal Minister
The PTI government has been criticizing past governments for failing to devise a strategy for businesses that are making losses but they also could not do the same, especially for PSM. Asad Umar posted the following statement on Facebook in January 2018
He claimed that the grand strategy will be introduced for PSM. However, there was no strategic action taken by Umar or any other PTI member. In fact, according to the reports, the government informed ECC that a financial advisor would be appointed soon to invite strategic investors in PSM.