May Day marked with protests in Peshawar
PESHAWAR: May Day was observed here on Thursday as a protest day and labour leaders noted the problems of labourers were growing and justice being denied.
Labourers and workers demonstrated at various places, but the main rally began at the Chacha Younas Park near Hashtnagri Chowk. Prominent labour leaders delivered speeches there. Hundreds of workers belonging to government and semi-government organizations attended the rally.
Prominent speakers included United Municipal Workers Union President Malik Naveed, Bashir Khan, Lala Ehsan Qureshi, All Pakistan Federation of Labour (APFL) President Chaudhry Talib Nawaz, APFL Central Secretary General Zahoor Ahmed Awan and Khalil Rehman.
All the speakers were unanimous that the Industrial Relations Ordinance was against labourers. They urged the government to withdraw the ordinance. They also demanded the immediate lifting of the ban on trade and labour unions to safeguard the rights of labourers.
They said successive governments had denied the poor and the downtrodden their rights and justice. They said there were no jobs and prices were rising continuously.
The speakers said there was no quality education in public institutions and people were forced to bear the hefty fees of private institutions. They said private education was beyond the reach of the poor.
Some speakers criticized the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) government. They said six months had passed but there was no relief for the common man. They said political leaders run after the poor when they need votes but disappear after elections.
Participants of the rally were holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans. The rally ended at Soekarno Chowk.
Multan: More than two-dozen rallies were held on Thursday to pay respects to the workers of Chicago, who laid down their lives for the cause of better working conditions.
Huge rallies were held in Multan, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal and Dera Ghazi Khan, in which more than 20,000 workers took part.
In Multan about a dozen rallies were held by the workers of Railway, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) workers of political parties belonging to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam (PML-QA), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Communist Party (PCP), National Workers Party (NWP), Pakistan Seraiki Party (PSP), Qaumi Jamhoori Party (QJP), Multan Union of Journalists (MUJ), Amnesty International (AI), Traqqi Pasand Organisation (TPO) and Pakistan National Textile and Garments and General Workers Federation (PNTGGWF). However no religious party took part in the rally. Speaking to the rally the Mehnat Kash Union’s Muhammad Iqbal Shad said, “The charter of International Labour Organisation (ILO) was being violated in Pakistan and the state owned railway was forcing its labour to work for twelve hours daily with meagre pay and no facilities.”
Pakistan Communist Party’s Taj Muhammad Soz said, “The feudal system, capitalism, ignorance, illiteracy, multi-national companies, civil and military bureaucracy are the enemies of the people.”
“We are protesting against unpaid, underpaid women labour and child labour in Pakistan. We are also expressing our solidarity with the labour of the world,” PSP’s Haji Ahmed Nawaz Somroo said.
MUJ President Nadeem Shah said, “The wages of the journalists were lower than even the industrial workers, while employees of regional papers were spending a miserable life. There was no security of job, life, implementation of labour laws and wage board award.”
Another major rally was taken out in Muzaffargarh by the All Pakistan Jute and Textile Workers Federation (APJTWF), which was led by Malik Ghulam Abbas Langarial.
Sialkot: Senator Syed Sajjad Bukhari said at a May Day function at the Sialkot Press Club on Thursday that labourers got their rights 116 years ago this day, in Chicago, and labours in Pakistan could only gain their rights in a democratic government.
Senator Bukhari said the former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto gave labours their rights for the first time in the country and it was now for them to demand their rights from the government.
Senator Bukhari said Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) protest against the Legal Framework Order would continue till it was scrapped, as it was not part of the Constitution.
Muttahida Majlis-e Amal also took part in May Day function held at Sialkot College of Commerce.
Muzaffarabad: Like other parts of the country, May Day was observed here with a pledge to continue struggle for the rights of labourers and to end capitalism, reports APP. A ceremony was also held at the Muzaffarabad Corporation Hall, which was addressed by workers representatives and AJK senior minister Syed Mumtaz Ali Gilani.