Pakistan: Trade Union Rights Campaign seminar in Karachi

125 trade unionists and political activists pay rich tribute to the historic struggle of PTCL Workers.

The Trade Union Rights Campaign and Socialist Movement in Karachi organised a seminar in PMA House. It was organised in connection with the 25th anniversary of the death of revolutionary leader and martyr Nazir Abbassi, who was martyred by state forces during the vicious military dictatorship of Zia in 1980. The seminar was presided over by veteran left leader, Syed

Kawish Risvi. Azad Qadri, the National Organising Secretary of the TURCP was the chief guest and Khalid Bhatti, National Organiser of the SMP, was the main speaker.

All the speakers paid rich tribute to the telecomm workers for their historic struggle against privatisation. They were of the view that this struggle has inspired the working class in Pakistan and many sections of workers are discussing taking action against the anti-worker policies of the government.

Comrade Azad said that it was not a spontaneous movement as many believe, but a conscious effort of the TURCP and SMP members had prepared this fight. He said that Socialists played a key role in organising organise this historic struggle, which lasted 7 weeks. He also gave a brief account of the international solidarity campaign of the CWI and said that it would not have been possible to organise this struggle without it. He said it was a practical example of workers’ internationalism and showed that it is not just a slogan but a key practical question in the labour movement.

Comrade Khalid Bhatti said that many people are saying that this struggle was defeated but that is not true. It was partially defeated because of the betrayal of leadership but the struggle has important lessons for the whole of the working class. The main lesson is the urgent need for a workers’ revolutionary party, which can fight for the interests of working class. There is no workers’ party in Pakistan. The PPP has completely become a capitalist party. Khalid emphasised the need to link the trade union struggle with the struggle to overthrow the rotten capitalist and feudal system and to transform the society on socialist lines.

This seminar has opened up new opportunities for the TURCP and the Socialist Movement in Karachi. Three new members were recruited after the seminar. The hostility of a few groups towards the SMP clearly shows the desperation and lack of clear policies and strategies on the left in Pakistan.

These demands were unanimously agreed on in the seminar:-

  • No to Imperialist War. End the occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Abolish Industrial Relations Ordinance (IRO)2002 and Labour policy 2002.
  • Stop Privatisation. Renationalise all the privatised industries and services.
  • Remove all military officers from civilian institutions.

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