October 20th, 2020
By Umar Bacha
Being forced to remain indoors due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, 26-year-old Ikram’s debt, as well as his anxieties, only kept piling up. He needed work and did not think twice when about two weeks ago he packed his bags and travelled to Darra Adam Khel to work as a labourer in Mine No. 7.
On Saturday, October 17, Ikram was toiling away with other miners several hundred feet deep in the mine when a gas explosion occurred. He and two others were fatally wounded and did not survive the journey to the nearest hospital.
In the winters, a number of people from Shangla spread out across the country to labour in coal mines, and it is in this very season that some of them return as corpses to the valley. Despite this, the government is failing to take up any measures to ensure workplace safety for miners.
Although the provincial government has devised legislation to provide welfare and ensure the safety of coal miners, it has yet to be implemented. Families of deceased coal miners have no recourse but to turn to the government to demand monetary aid and free education for their orphaned children.