Lahore Industrialist Arranges for Firing on Factory Workers

Shaukat Ali Chaudhry

On 17th Feb 2020 the workers of Ravi Autos Shadrah (Lahore) faced direct firing by the hooligans who were working under the directions of the factory administration, a factory worker Rizwan was martyred while another four workers received critical injuries due to the direct attack by the crooks of the factory administration.

Ravi Autos Union has an alliance with Mutahida Labor Federation, the union had no qualms with the factory owners, the matter was a simple one, it was unacceptable for the factory owners to permit the workers to form union and organize themselves under the laws of the country. After the formation of the workers union, the factory owners had not spared any chance of harassing the workers or firing them. The leaders of the union along with the leadership of Mutahida Labour Federation including Chaudhary Muhammad Ashraf, Nazeer Shahzad, Hanif Ramay, Chaudhary Muhammad Yaqoob, Altaf Baloch and Muhammad Akbar had always tried to ensure industrial peace and for the factory to work as per its production capabilities and for the continuity of laborers earnings. However, the factory administration was not willing to allow the workers to form a union under any circumstances. Previously, in order to induce fear among the labourers, the administration had tried to indict union leaders under false charges, however the administration was always met with failure in such cases. But, this time they had displayed the utmost cruelty and barbarism; by trying to assassinate the workers. During the attack, one worker, Rizwan, lost his life, while four others received critical injuries. When the news of administration’s cruelty and barbarism reached the surrounding factories, the workers took to the streets and demanded the arrest and prosecution of the murderers. In the evening, the district administration arrested the thugs responsible for attacking the workers and initiated the legal proceedings against them. Afterwards, thousands of workers who had taken to the street ended their protest. We the union leadership, hope that the body of the deceased will be returned after due process to the relatives.

This heart wrenching incident should be condemned by all sections of society. The incidents leaves questions as to the state of workers’ rights in Pakistan, where in broad daylight an innocent worker can be shot dead, while four others can be left critically wounded. We are hopeful that the workers will recover to the fullest.

We have to observe how the district administration, along with the Government of Punjab tackles the culprits responsible for such a heinous and inhumane crime; so that no such incident occurs in the future.

Formation of Unions is amongst the fundamental, legal rights of the workers and ensuring protection of these rights is the duty of the Government and Labour Department along with other law enforcement authorities, these bodies and departments are under oath to defend these rights. However, when the owners, who are intoxicated with their own power, despite the presence of these departments, challenge the rights of workers in broad daylight, it is the duty of the government to act stringently against such individuals and protect its citizens from such a gross abuse of power.

The pain of incident is felt by the working classes of Pakistan and they would raise their voices in grief as well.

The patriotic working classes of Pakistan have always tried to ensure the continuity of industrial activity in the country so that the country can prosper. However, if the government does not take appropriate action and the different concerning departments do not take the due course in protecting the lives and livelihoods of the working people then the continuity of industrial progress in the country would stop and the dream of a prosperous Pakistan would not be fulfilled.

Shaukat Ali Chaudhry
Pakistan Mazdoor Mahaz

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