Concern shown over injustices with brick kiln workers

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KARACHI: Representatives of labour, trade, workers organisations and human rights have expressed their concern over injustices being held with brick kiln workers and torture of its leaders. They said these activities have deepened grave unease among the labour class. Pakistan is included among those countries where forced work is taken from laborers even in twenty first century. Tens of thousand of people are living their lives like slaves even in these modern times.At a press conference at Karachi Press Club Karamat Ali Executive Director of Institute of Labour Education andResearch (PILER), Habibullah Junaidi Ramzan Memon, Ghulam Mehboob, Syed Shamsuddin and Jafar Khan said under the constitution of Pakistan, it was strictly prohibited to take force work but agriculture and brick kiln workers were behaved as if they were slave.These are the people among whose blood and sweat country’s agriculture and industry runs. But lives of the laborers have been made miserable.Karamat said the labour class was constrained to take advance payment as loan because of low wages. Afterwards even next generations are unable to payoff the loans. And in this way the slavery is transformed from one generation to another generation.Enforced work is found at major extent at brick kilns. In Sindh and Punjab a class of labour is associated with this sector. Government of Punjab has recognised as industry to brick kilns but labourers are being deprived of their rights.Even after the recognition of government order, brick kilns are not being registered. Apart from this laborers are not being paid according to wages fixed by the government.Last year Punjab government issued notification regarding the fixing of wage Rs 740 per thousand kilns however it is not being implemented till now. Recently during ‘labour conference’ held under Punjab government it was reiterated wages of laborers would be paid according to notification,” Karamat added.After the conference government also issued notification regarding the implementation. That angered brick kiln owners. Majority of among them are busy in hooliganism with the workers, he said.Press conference was told few days back in Faisalabad some brick owners attacked labour leaders. On May 11, brick kiln owner Rana Asif along with his loaded companions attacked labour leader Aslam Meraj and his companion and injured them. They even tried to kidnap them before snatching mobile phone and Rs 50,000 cash, alleged Karamat.He said laborers in Faisalabad demonstrated sit-in protest against the incident. A First Information Report (FIR) has been lodged against Rana Asif and his fourteen companions. But main accused Asif got temporary bail.We strongly condemn such incident and demand to provincial government that all accused persons in FIR should be arrested immediately and rewarded punishment, said PILER leaders.They demanded Sindh government to all brick kilns should be registered. Wages of laborers in Sindh should be made equal to the wages of Punjab and also it should be implemented.

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