Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pakistani union federation calls for peace...

All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF):
Workers of Pakistan Need Peace. Peace Needs the Action of the Working Class

The APTUF is a trade union center which exists in an organized from in all regions of Pakistan.

We members of APTUF come from Punjab, from SIND, from Baluchistan, from North West Frontiers Province
We may speak different languages and have different cultures and religions -- but we all are members of the same trade union.

We all share these main concerns and demands:

- We want to keep our jobs and not be unemployed;
- We want wages that allow us to live and to raise our families, which means a legal minimum wage of RS. 10,000;
- We want respect of our rights as workers, which means first of all our right to organize in trade unions, whatever our trade; we want the right to strike and to collective bargaining;
- We want the right to assemble, demonstrate and freely express our views;- We want the abolition of anti-worker laws such as IRO- 2008, Essential Services Ordinance (Compulsory retirement);- We want safety of life.

Whatever province or region we come from, whatever our language, our religion or culture, we are all united in APTUF around these essential demands.

Are those demands not the demands of all the people of Pakistan -- of the workers, the farmers, the women, youth, the professionals?
But what do we see happening today in our country?
All the people of Pakistan are faced with violence, disruption and war.

In year 2008, there were 57 blasts in which 843 civilians and army persons were killed and 309 injured in the country as a result of military operations and bomb blasts.

800,000 people have left their residences in NWFP province and 3,50,000 in Baluchistan. They are living in camps where they lack proper food, water and shelter. They are living in miserable conditions.

The cost of the the War Against Terror in Pakistan has risen to RS. 678 billion. In fact, Pakistan is facing war conditions. But officially, there is no war. Pakistan is not at war with any other country.

The war is inside Pakistan and this violence threatens the country with dislocation.

We, the APTUF will be meeting in the national congress of our union on December 30th, 2008 in Lahore. We state solemnly:
No Pakistani worker, peasant, youth, women can accept this state of affairs.

All those who live and toil in Pakistan, whatever the problems they are facing, and whatever their differences, are able to solve these problems together and by themselves, in a peaceful way.
It is not the people of Pakistan, of Punjab, of SIND, of Baluchistan and of the NWFP who want war.
The violence that today is rampant all over the country does have its roots in Pakistan. It comes from outside.
With great concern we take note of the fact that the war waged in Afghanistan by NATO forces under American command has now entered into Pakistan/Daily, the integrity of the Pakistan territory is violated.
In the name of the never-ending war against terrorism, Pakistani men, women, and children are killed by NATO bombs and rockets.
The Pakistani people want peace in Pakistan, they want peace on their borders.
The APTUF calls for an immediate end to all military operations in Pakistan.
We repeat, the people all over Pakistan are able to peacefully overcome the problems they confront,but a prerequisite is the end to all foreign intervention in the affairs of Pakistan, and to all military aggression.

Violence and war are spreading. The daily situation of the great majority of the people has become intolerable:
- Hundreds and hundreds of factories have closed down, and tens of thousands of workers have lost their jobs.
- Inflation is running at 300%. It becomes impossible for more and more families to buy the most basic goods.- Electricity is now shut down most of the days all over the country, including the main towns and cities.- It is no longer safe to go work, to go for walk, to go the market
- Instead of stepping up armament expenditures and building up military operations, it is those problems that should be faced.
To overcome the problems, the people of Pakistan need peace.

That is why the APTUF, convinced that it is acting as a responsible trade union for the good of its members and of the entire working class launches this solemn appeal addressed to all:
Peace in Pakistan! No foreign intervention!
The workers of Pakistan need and want peace!
Peace needs the action of the working class!

Gulzar Chaudhary General SecretaryAll Pakistan Trade Union Federation 14-N, Industrial Area, Gulberg II, Lahore

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