KARACHI: Former Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani today has called upon all the workers, intellectuals and progressive elements to prepare a counter narrative to get their fundamental rights.
He was addressing a workers convention to mark May Day jointly organised by trade unions and labor supporting organizations here at Karachi Press Club.
Former Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani maintaining that trade unions were weakened and student unions were banned in Pakistan under a well-planned strategy, held: “The state of Pakistan does not encourage a counter narrative, so it has decided to weaken all other narratives.”
Mian Raza Rabbani said the state wanted to impose its own narratives, but it had miserably failed: “It has used the tools of divide and rule of British era on divided the workers on linguistic and sectarian basis. There are only two forces in Pakistan—oppressors and oppressed, he said adding that the federation of Pakistan would be stronger, until all workers, intellectuals and progressive are not united to counter the state’s narrative”.
Senator Rabbani recalled that the so-called Decades of Reforms in 1960s was a dark era when the labor movements were weakened and all the fundamental rights were usurped. Advocating initiating of concerted movements he held: “History has witnessed that the oppressed nations have got their rights after prolonged movements.”
He said all political or labor issues should not be brought to courts and in the past whenever we have adopted the path of reconciliation, we have lost.
Malik Lal Khan of Trade Unions Defense Campaign said that elite has a control over government, parliament and trade. He said that a worker cannot reach in the parliament because the system has been designed in such a way that only elite can reach there.
He said in 1960s trade unions had a force and they got successes through their movement, but that force has been weakened.
Sindh Health Workers Federation Ms. Bushra Arain said that the lady health workers have struggled for the last 14 years. “We have got ourselves regularized,” she said adding that only unity could solve the problems.
A set of resolutions was passed on the occasion. The resolution demanded the government to implement Supreme Court’s decision regarding contract system. All daily wage employees should be regularized.
All the workers should be brought into social security net, the resolution said adding that laws under the ILO Conventions should be implemented across the board.
The resolution expressed concern over non-availability of health and safety facilities in many industries and commercial units.
The resolution expressed serious concern over worst conditions of agriculture workers in Pakistan and government’s failure to control bonded and child labor. The workers expressed their solidarity with the peasants of Okara who have started a movement for their land rights.
The resolution condemned the privatization plan of PIA and Pakistan Steel and demanded the government to stop privatization of these state-owned organizations. One resolution demanded to implement all labor laws including provision of equal rights to women workers.