Activities go ahead despite intimidation of authorities

Trade Union Rights Campaign (TURCP) organises activities across Pakistan

Trade union Rights Campaign organised MayDay activities in 16 cities and took part in activities in a further 21 cities and towns in all four provinces in Pakistan. In preparation for this activity the TURCP produced a special May Day poster and a national leaflet in two languages (Urdu and Sindhi), as well as specific local leaflets as well. Socialist Movement Pakistan members (CWI in Pakistan) also produced a special Mayday issue of their paper, the Socialist.

The TURCP organised activity was covered by the main national newspapers and TV channels. Activities were organised in Islamabad, Faisalabad, Multan, Karachi, Muzafargar, Shikarpur, Bahawalpur, Dadu, Larkana, Tando Jam, Tharri Mohabat, Sahiwal, Mardan, Peshawar, Dir, Swat. TURCP members also took part in Mayday demos and rallies organised by the workers’ movement in Lahore, Hyderabad, Quetta, Khuzdar, Sukhar, Sangar, Rawalpindi, Gujrat and some other cities. More than 1000 copies of Socialist were sold in these activities. The following brief reports give a flavour of what was done on Mayday:

Islamabad

The TURCP was the only organisation which organized the May Day activity in the capital city of Pakistan. It was also the first ever open May Day activity organised in the capital. Normally the police and security services intimidate those who have tried to hold Mayday activities not to do so because of the prestigious and sensitive nature of the capital city.

Last year TURCP organised the seminar in a hotel, but this time TURCP decided to organise an open public activity to defy the ban on public gatherings in Islamabad.

More than 200 trade union activists participated in the public meeting in the telecom residential colony. The Telecom management and police tried to stop this meeting. PTCL management mounted a campaign of intimidation to discourage workers from participating in this public meeting.

This was the first public meeting organised in the PTCL premises since the privatisation of this telecom Company. The state authorities put lot of pressure on leading TURCP members to cancel the activity. When TURCP members refused to back down, the authorities cut off the power supply of this area to sabotage the meeting.

TURCP members went ahead with the public meeting, defying the all odds. 13 different trade unions participated in this public meeting. The main speakers were, Azad Qadri, Aazam Janjua, Sajid Tanuali, Anwar-ul-haq, Akram Bundah, Chaudhary Muazam, Mumtaz arzoo, Zahoor ahmad, Shahid Zaheer and Shafique Awan.

The speakers strongly condemned the anti-working class policies of the Musharraf regime. This public meeting got excellent coverage in the media (see cuttings below). Eight national newspapers carried articles on it.

TURCP members also took part in other May Day activities organized by different organisations in nearby Rawalpindi. Azad Qadri was among the main speakers in a seminar organized by a May Day committee (an alliance of different trade unions and left groups in Rawalpindi). The TURCP members also attended a seminar organised by Workers Federation.

Dadu, interior Sindh

The TURCP organized a workers’ conference and rally in Tharri Mohabat District Dadu in Sindh. The Sindh Urban Alliance (made up of 50 local trade unions, peasant organizations and community campaigns) unanimously decided to join the TURCP in the run-up to Mayday. Three hundred workers, peasants and youth participated in the workers’ conference and nearly 400 were present in the rally. TURCP members in the area also produced a special May Day leaflet in the Sindhi language. Khalid Bhatti, national organiser TURCP, and Zubair Rehman, Karachi organiser of the SMP were the main speakers at the conference. Hameed Chana, Mumtaz Barohi, and others also spoke there. The representatives and workers of four newly formed unions were also present in the conference. These four unions were formed with the help of local TURCP members and include Kiln Workers Union, Transport Workers Union, Glass and Shoe Makers Workers union and Construction Workers Union. These unions are affiliated to the TURCP. Many other unions are making contact with the leading TURCP members in the area to join the TURCP.

Seminars were also organised in Radhan Station, Mehar and Dadu. National organizer TURCP Khalid Bhatti was the main speaker at these seminars.

Tando Jam

TURCP members organised a public rally in Tando Jam. Two hundred and fifty workers and youth attended the rally. All the trade unions, community organizations and peasants’ organizations in the area participated in this rally. The rally went through the main streets of the city and ended in the main market.

Faisalabad

TURCP jointly organized seminar with Power Loom Workers in this, one of the largest cities in Pakistan. More than 200 participated in this seminar. Fourteen speakers addressed the meeting. Eleven different trade union representatives were present in the seminar. The participants also organised a protest demonstration against the vicious anti-working class Industrial Relations Ordinance 2002 and privatisation, after the seminar.

Karachi

More than 350 workers participated in a May Day rally organized jointly by TURCP and Watan Dost Mazdoor Federation Sindh. This rally was covered by all the main TV channels and national newspapers. The rally was led by Iqbal Rind, Zubair Rehman, William Sadique and other trade union leaders. TURCP leaflets were distributed and the Socialist was sold at the rally.

TURCP member, William Sadique was among the main speakers in a seminar organised by Textile and Powerloom Workers Union. Six hundred attended this gathering.

Lahore

TURCP members participated in the main rally organized by Pakistan Workers Confederation. More than 5000 workers participated in this rally. TURCP members distributed leaflets and sold many Socialists. TURCP members also participated in the 3 other May Day activities. TURCP will organize a seminar in Lahore on 10th May.

Important interventions were also made in Quetta, Peshawar, Hyderabad and Sukhar.

Some of the press coverage.

Committee for a workers' International publications

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