The 62nd anniversary of Pakistan was crowned by many valuable gifts that the PPP -led government has given to the people making this Day of Independence a memorable occasion for them. The very fact that the people of Swat joined their brethren in other parts of the country in celebrations at Mingora, itself is a major development that speaks of how fast normalcy is returning to this valley of exquisite scenic beauty that has hitherto been an area where militants ruled and had taken law abiding citizens as hostage. The decision to amend the Frontier Crime Regulations and conferring upon the people of FATA a number of legal and political rights in seven agencies bordering Afghanistan for the first time since 1908, may also go in the history as a milestone in bringing the region in the mainstream political life. President Asif Zardari has been a moving spirit behind introducing these major reforms which are going to have a meaningful impact on the lives of the people in these remote areas. Still greater is the launching of the scheme that envisages the empowerment of the employees of the state owned entities through the Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme (BESOS) by Prime Minister Gilani on the Independence Day. Government employees, who have seldom been rewarded in the last 62 years will now be the shareholders to a proportion of 12 per cent in as many 86 government enterprises. Total government shares in these companies is around Rs100 billion and they have an employment strength of around 500,000 and thus means they are now partners of the government in the administration of all the state enterprises. The scheme is based on the Privatization Commission Ordinance 2000 which spells out in section 2(i) that the federal government is authorized to transfer any property, right, interest, concession or management to any person or enterprise owned or controlled wholly or partially, directly or indirectly, by the government. Employees' shareholdings through transfer of 12 per cent of the federal government will entitle them the membership of the board of directors. All permanent and contractual employees, with a minimum service of five years, are eligible for the BESOS and can only exit on retirement or otherwise ceasing to be employee. The Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme will create a trust with token cash and trustees will consist of government nominees and employees representatives. Shares of respective SOE will be transferred to the trust which will assign units to employees in proportion to their entitlement on the basis of length of service through unit certificates which shall not be sold. Employees will surrender the unit certificates to the trust on retirement or when they cease to be employees. The Government of Pakistan will guarantee buyback of the surrendered units on the basis of market value of the listed companies, break-up value at historical cost based on the last audited financial statements excluding re-valuation reserves for the un-listed and private limited companies and on net-worth based on the last audited financial statements. SOEs will be established under Special Acts and Ordinance till such time they become corporations. Employees' representative on the board will be nominated by the government and each of the employees will be entitled to dividends from the date of applicability of the scheme. As much as 50 per cent of the dividend will be transferred to a central revolving fund for annual payout and 50 per cent will be distributed amongst the employees. This would result into an annual payout of Rs.1.670 billion, which would be funded by the government. The central revolving fund out of the future dividend will be established in the Privatisation Commission for payments against surrendered unit certificates. Another feature of the scheme will be the creation of a cell by the Privatisation Commission costing Rs.10 million a year per annum which would be created in the Privatisation Commission for the purposes of effectuating the scheme. All the PPP governments in the past have a special leaning to the working classes, government employees and those whose livelihood depends on their toil. The late Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto introduced for the first time in 1972 the concept of the mill hand to be taken on the management boards of industries across the country and the Industrial Relations Ordinance (IRO) was amended for the purpose. Despite drastic changes in subsequent IROs detrimental to the working classes, no government has ever dared to dispense with this scheme. The Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme is yet another landmark in the history as it elevates employees to the status of owners of the public companies and corporations they have been working in by free allocation of government shares. There could have been no better Independence Day gift for the working classes.