By Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign (PTUDC)
The State of Saudi Arabia has unleashed brutality on the immigrant workers. The majority of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia come from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other deprived countries. Due to unemployment and poverty in their home countries, workers were compelled to work in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. But these workers are subject to “Cheap Labour” for Saudi capitalists. Workers employed by the Bin Ladin Group and Saudi Oger were left waiting for their wages for almost 7 months. After the collapse in oil revenues, the kingdom is unable to pay the dues to private firms for major building projects. On the account of unpaid wages and other benefits, these foreign workers staged protests for their demands. Instead of resolving their grievances, they have been sentenced to 300 lashes and four months behind the bars in Saudi Arabia. Against this Saudi State brutality on immigrant workers, Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign (PTUDC) launched the countrywide movement to condemn this cruelty and express solidarity with workers. We are publishing a brief report of these protests and rallies.
On 8th January, PTUDC Karachi organized demonstration protest in front of Karachi Press Club in which a large number of workers from Pakistan Steel Mills, Shoe Makers Union, Insaaf Labour Union, Karachi Port Trust and others participated. Demonstrators chanted revolutionary slogans and urged Government to resolve the issues. Trade Union Leader Dr a J. Pal while addressing said, “Under capitalism, workers are being exploited and in Pakistan workers are living in worst conditions. We support PTUDC for the emancipation of workers. Other speakers were Majid Memon, Leader of Pakistan Steel Mills and Jannat Hussain from PTUDC Karachi.
On 8th January, PTUDC organized a protest in front of Hyderabad Press Club in which severe punishments including flogging of workers by Saudi regime strongly condemned. Purshotam from Paramedics, Ramesh Chandio from the Wapda Hydro Union, Miral Bhar Gharri Provincial Leader APCA, Muhammad Hussain Leader GASTA and others addressed. Speakers urged Government for the unconditional release of detained workers.
On 8th January, PTUDC Dadu organized agitation rally from Municipal Park Dadu, in which a number of trade union leaders and workers participated. Participants were holding play cards and banners which had slogans against the anti-labour policy of Saudi Govt. At the end rally reached Dadu Press club where it turned into a public meeting. Anwar Panhwar, President PTUDC Sindh, Inayat Jamali leader Primary Teachers Association, Ghulam Abbas leader Rickshaw Drivers Association, Zameer Korejo leader Sindhi Adabi Sangat, Morial Panhwar leader Highways workers, Ejaz Bhagio leader BNT and others strongly condemned State repression on workers and demanded from Pakistani Government to bring back detained Pakistani workers from Saudi Arabia.
Rahim Yar Khan
On 8th January, PTUDC organized a protest against flogging of workers by Saudi State at District Press Club Rahim Yar Khan. Addressing the demonstration Qamar Uz Zaman Khan Central Secretary General PTUDC, Saeed Zaman Central Secretary General Pakistan Food Federation, Haider Chugtai District President PTUDC, Syed Jaffar Gillani leader Punjab Teachers Union, Sajid Mehmood, Shahid Ullah, Masood Afzal, Hina Masood, Nadeem Malik of MRDW, Jahanzaib from Unilever and Malik Rehman Habib Rumi from Coca-Cola said while addressing that “Conditions of workers in Saudi Arabia are worse than slaves which illustrate mentality of Saudi rulers.” Demonstrating solidarity with oppressed workers across the country is an important step in Pakistan labour movement. Protesters called on the Pakistani government to arrange jobs for the unemployed workers after the Gulf crisis. The protesters also shouted slogans against the Saudi regime’s brutality, workers sentenced to lashes and worst conditions.
On 8th January, PTUDC organized protest at Kot Addu Press Club which was attended a number of people from different segments of life. Zulifqar Baloch, Wasif Khan, Naseer Khan Girmani, Abbas Sirai, Fazal Girmani, Arif Chandio, Hameed Akhtar, Shafqat Baloch, Imran Jaffar and Ali Akbar addressed at this occasion. The speakers strongly condemned Saudi brutality on workers and demanded immediate release of all workers.
On 8th January, PTUDC organized a public rally from Local courts to Traffic Chowk at Jampur. In which participants chanted slogans against Saudi brutality. When the rally reached Traffic Chowk, it transformed into public meeting and blocked the main Highway which connects the provinces. Many people from PPP, YDA and PSF joind the Rally, and chanted revolutionary slogans against KSA brutality and in support of the immigrant workers.
On 8th January, PTUDC Multan protested against the barbaric act of Saudi Government against workers: who were victimized just because of conducting a protest, demanding their last seven months pay. The protest took place in front of Press Club Multan in which OGDCL, WAPDA, SNGPL, Media and Railway workers, Students and others participated in the protest and chanted slogans against Saudi Government’s barbarism. Speakers asserted that Saudi Government is exploiting workers on the massive scale including lashes, fines and six-month imprisonment; we strongly condemn this state terrorism. Capitalism has reached its limits and the state is becoming more violent, showing the losing control of people. Exploitation of workers has become a norm in late capitalism and there is no way out except scientific Socialism. On this occasion, Nadeem Pasha, Zeshan Butt, Nadir Gopang, Ali Raza, Malik Farooq, Ishaq, Aslam Ansari, Rana Sumair, Raheem Bux, Tuasif Ahmad, Sachal Sarmast, Rana Izhar Khalid, Shehryar Balouch, Noshair Khan, Shah Rukh and Zain Naqvi zealously participated in the protest.
On 8th January, in front of Lahore Press Club, PTUDC held a protest, which was attended by workers, students and youth. The participants condemned this act of KSA monarchy in the strongest terms, chanted slogans against the Saudi kingdom. Speaking at the demonstration Amanullah Mastoi said that the government should act to protect Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia. Workers should be compensated and Pakistani Govt must ensure their repatriation.
On 8th January, PTUDC organized agitation protest at Press Club Sialkot, participant’s strongly condemned Saudi State brutality and repression on workers. PTUDC Sialkot President Nasir Butt, Lecturers & Professor Association leader Babar Patras, Labor leader Asif Butt, BNT Organizer Sialkot Ahsan and Umar Shahid Information Secretary PTUDC addressed the protest. The speakers said that the only way out for the working class of Saudi Arabia is a socialist revolution through a class war.
On 8th January, PTUDC organized a protest against violence on immigrant workers in Saudi Arabia at Rawalpindi Press Club. The protestors said that flogging and putting workers in jail cannot be accepted under any circumstances. These workers were demanding payment of their unpaid wages. Workers are not given any rights and totally treated as slaves. Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign demands from Pakistani authorities to condemn these heinous acts and ensure foreign workers protection in Saudi Arabia. Delegates from PTUDC, Revolutionary Students Front (RSF), BNT and Pakistan Peoples Party participated in the protest.
On January 5 at 4 pm on GT Road Wah, PTUDC protested against the brutal state repression against workers by the authorities in Saudi Arabia. PPP, PTUDC, PSF, RSF and other groups of workers participated in the protest. Participants raised strong slogans against the Saudi state violence and greeted workers struggle. While addressing the central joint secretary of PTUDC, Changez Malik said that the Saudi state has always oppressed workers. We salute the struggle of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia and demand the immediate payment of wages. Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign will be organizing protests across Pakistan and expose the torture of monarchy.
On 8th January, PTUDC organized a protest at the Peshawar Press Club. This protest was attended by University students, Pashtoon Students Federation, RSF, PTUDC and representatives of the workers.
The protesters raised slogans against the Saudi government and for the release of the workers. The speakers on the occasion said this act is an example of high brutality against workers by the Saudi state. We strongly demand that workers be paid their salaries and unconditional release.