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Pakistan. It was their day-workers, peasants take lead to revive a political tradition
by Abdul Khaliq
18 February 2010

Lahore, 2nd February 2010

Despite prevailing fear of everyday explosions and suicide bombings
across Pakistan, over 10,000 power loom workers and peasants braved
their way to Dhobi Ghat ground, Faisalabad on 29th February 2010. No
doubt a marvelous indicator of their commitment to the working class
Though much bigger gathering was being expected but under the given
scary circumstances, when masses prefer to stay at home, everyone is
gripped by fear of suicide bombings, including mainstream political
parties, which are evasive to come in the open and organize public
gatherings, workers and peasants opted and dared to come out to register
their demands in a powerful way.
In this apolitical atmosphere, they have revived the much needed
tradition of 1970s and 1980s of big political gatherings, when people
use to attend such gathering in huge numbers and sit for hours to listen
their leaders.

Thus the show was successful by many aspects and achieved, to large
extent, its objectives of getting working classes together and closer at
a united platform in order to forge durable future unity. It conveyed
not only strong message of workers-peasants resistance to the
neo-liberal policies of the rulers, but also renewed the hope of
possibility of collective struggle of the progressive forces in Pakistan.

The public meeting, jointly organized by Labor Quami (national) Movement
(LQM) and Anjuman Mzareen (Tenant committee) Punjab (AMP) was attended
by a large number of right-based civil society groups, movements,
alliances, networks, trade unions, left parties, women groups and
addressed by their representatives. International delegates from Fourth
International (Pierre Rousset) and Socialist Alliance Australia (Simon
Butler) also spoke on the occasion and voiced their solidarity with the
workers and peasants of Pakistan.

Following resolutions, comprising just demands of the working classes of
Pakistan was presented, widely circulated and adopted with thundering
claps on the occasion:

- Government should issue social security cards to all the
workers forth worth and fix minimum wages of workers at Rs. 15000.

- Go away with anti-labor laws, restricting formation of new
trade unions and stop vindictive actions against the labor leaders.

- Reinstate forthwith all the workers thrown out of the private
enterprises during Musharraf regime and present PPP government.

- Increase the number of labor courts through effective
pro-workers reforms in order to provide cheap and speedy justice to the

- Effective measures be taken to end electricity load shedding,
which has crippled the power loom industry, rendering thousands of
workers jobless.

- Financial packages be announced for small power loom units, end
yarn hoarding to sustain running of power looms and livelihoods of workers.

- State notification be issued to increase and make wages of all
power loom workers at par across the country.

- End with contract and daily wages system; regularize all
employees in state and private sector.

- Labor laws be strictly implemented, a tripartite
(worker-employers-government) conference be called in to devise new
labor policy.

- End the on-going privatization process of state-owned
enterprises and halt the privatization plan of Pakistan Railways.

- Women workers be paid equal wages to that of men workers.
Home-based women workers be recognized as workers and counted as skilled
labor force.

- Legislation be introduced to protect the labor rights of the
informal sector workers, being exploited at the hands of the middlemen
and contractors.

- Industry status be granted to bangle-making in Hyderabad.

- Strict implementation of Bonded Labor Act 1992. Bosses be
forced to end advance system, act upon government notification regarding
payment of just wages at brick kiln factories.

- Stop unlawful cut on pensions of communication pensioners in
Hazara division and ensure repayment of the deductions forthwith.

- Implement minimum wage law (Rs. 6000) for all the workers
across the country and especially in Hattar industry, Hazara Division.

- Reinstate all the sacked workers of Mardan Takhtby Sugar mills.

- Effective, meaningful, radical and doable national level
agriculture reforms be introduced to end feudal system in the country.
All the state owned lands be distributed among landless, local tenants,
small peasants and Haris. Women be given priority in this process.

- Agriculture lands and their occupation be restored to the
tenants of Alipur Chattaha, all illegal cases registered against them be

- Tenants tilling state agriculture lands of military farms and
military welfare trust farms, since decades be given land ownership rights.

- Seventh wage Board award for journalists be implemented forthwith.

- Big city allowance for Faisalabad be announced and High Court
Bench in City should be established.

- Free and quality Education from primary to University level for
all, be announced and at least 10 percent of GDP be fixed for education

- Class-based education system be abolished, uniform syllabus be
introduced across the country for all Educational institutes. Technical
and scientific education be declared compulsory.

- Maximum budget for health, free heath facilities for poor and
housing for the low income groups be announced.

- A debt audit commission be formed to investigate into all loan
contracts, made with IFIs, sine 1947. Refuse to repay all illegitimate
external debts.

- Military budget be cut and the amount saved thus be spent on
social sector.

- Government should announce at least Rs. 10,000 as unemployment
allowance for the unemployed youth.

- All relevant rules be also introduced for teachers in workers
welfare schools and all employees of workers welfare schools be
considered as employees of welfare board. Social security scheme and
Old Age Benefits be declared for teachers of these schools

- Second shift for students be introduced in all the workers
welfare schools, upgrading these schools to the status of higher
secondary schools.

- US Drone attacks be halt forthwith, massacres of local innocent
population, women and children in the name of war on terrorism be stopped.

- Provincial autonomy be ensured per 1973 Constitution and
appropriate measures be taken to end sense of deprivation among smaller

- All out priority-based steps be taken to end discriminatory
laws against women and abolish all sorts of violence against women.
Exchange marriages, karo-kari and other patriarchal traditions be
announced illegal.

- Rights of Religious minorities, indigenous communities be
strictly protected and all discriminatory laws, including blasphemy
laws be abolished.

- Women be given due representation according to their population
in legislative bodies and other institutions at all levels.

- Local bodies elections be announced forthwith and be held under
the supervision of Election Commission of Pakistan.

- Emergency measures be taken to arrest price-hike, prices of
petroleum products and daily items be lowered by restoring state subsidy
on the necessary items.


Abdul Khaliq

CADTM Pakistan