ISLAMABAD: The apex court has stopped the federal government from selling a piece land belonging to the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), saying that the land is a public property.
A two-member bench, comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Maqbool Baqar, heard a case filed by the Ministry of Industries and Production against seizure of its properties by the Sindh High Court (SHC) over not paying salaries, gratuities and other dues of the PSM employees.
The deputy advocate general representing the government said the PSM has not sufficient funds to pay salaries and provident funds to the employees. ‘In view of this situation, the ministry is selling a piece of land owned by the PSM in order to pay outstanding dues its staffers,” he added.
Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who is the senior most judge of the Supreme Court after the chief justice, said the PSM's land is owned by the people and it could not be sold out. He expressed his disappointment over the PSM’s performance asked why not the apex court should take notice of it.
“The PSM's output is zero as it has been ruined by people at the helm to fill their own pockets. The PSM was once a huge institution and hundreds of other steel mills used to operate with the help of it. Cars, trucks and even rockets were prepared in the PSM,” he noted.
The court later dismissed the government's application against the SHC order to freeze accounts of the Ministry of Industry and Production.
The federal government's application was dismissed over withdrawal of petition by the government in view of the fact that the SHC has also withdrawn its order to attach the ministry’s properties. The hearing was subsequently adjourned for 15 days.
WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP