November 8th, 2020
By Hamid Riaz
Today, hundreds of workers from Lahore and its peripheral areas held a protest march from Mall road to Punjab assembly to protest workers’ rights violations, rising inflation, and rampant unemployment. The protesters chanted slogans in favor of Ashaq Langriyal, a farmer killed as a result of Lahore police’s severe crackdown on a peaceful farmers’ rally in Lahore, this Wednesday. The farmers were demanding an increase in wheat’s support price.
A large number of female workers were also present at the march. Rubina, a female textile worker from Chungi Amr Sadhu Lahore said that the current government has completely failed to protect the rights of the working population of the country. “Inflation has skyrocketed and there is no work out there. Our children go to sleep hungry at night. Imran Khan should be ashamed of himself,” said Rubina, a female textile worker from Chungi Amr Sadhu Lahore.
According to the worker’s factory owners fired thousands of workers under the guise of Corona. While the wages of those who are still employed have been cut for an unannounced period, leading to starvation in thousands of homes.
“Ibrahim Fiber the textile Mill I was employed in before the pandemic fired more than 3800 workers without prior notice. When workers protested, we were subjected to severe violence by the hand of the police. FIRs were registered against several of our fellow workers. I don’t think the state looks at workers as human beings,” said a textile worker who traveled all the way from Faisalabad to attend this march.
Haider Butt, and an activist from Muridke, told VoicePk.net that the youth of smaller cities is suffering from a severe unemployment crisis. “State has failed to provide both dignity and a future to the young people of my area,” says Haider.
Mohsin Dawar, MNA associated with the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, Advocate Hina Jillani from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Abid Saqi, Vice President of Pakistan Bar Council, and many other important political and social personalities attended the march.
“People from every segment of the society are present here in the march today. These people are not here for a leader or a political party. They are here for themselves and the problems they,” said Ammar Ali Jan, organizer of the march,
The death of the farmer, Ashfaq Langriyal, a farmer killed as a result of brutal repression by the police became a central theme of the march. MNA Mohsin Dawar strongly condemned the incident and said that at one hand the government is intent on taking food and bread away from the working masses of the country and on the hand when these people protest the state attacks them with batons and chemical-laden water.
Dozens of students also took part in the march to show solidarity with the workers.
Abid Saqi, vice chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council, said on the occasion that the Pakistan Bar Council would continue its struggle for the oppressed sections of the country alongside the Haqooq Khalq Movement.