Published in Dawn November 28th, 2016
FOR decades, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) presented an image of its people as fierce, loyal to tribal customs, and living under the harsh colonial-era Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), 1901. Later, this image was replaced with that of the militants and religious extremists at war with the state and amongst themselves.
Far from the area, we somehow failed to imagine them as ordinary people like ourselves going about life, struggling to earn a livelihood and dreaming of a better tomorrow — but in a war-torn region whilst yearning to be free of the FCR.
Published in Dawn October 16th, 2016
IT may sound like a strange word for many of us urban dwellers, yet for those involved in the world of hazardous work it raises alarm — silicosis is an incurable lung disease that leads to respiratory failure and death.
Caused by inhaling silica dust while engaged in industrial operations such as mining, quarrying, sandblasting, rock-drilling, road construction and stone masonry, silicosis afflicts tens of millions of workers and kills thousands of people every year worldwide, according to ILO. The silver lining is that the disease is preventable and thus European countries, the US and Canada have reduced its incidence to a minimum. In South Asia, however, including Pakistan, silicosis mortality rate remains very high.
Published in Dawn on January 12, 2016
‘Let the sky fall, when it crumbles, we will stand tall and face it all together.’ — Skyfall, Adele
Natural disasters aside, white-collar workers can’t even imagine the sky falling down on us, literally, while we are at work. Neither can they imagine what happens in that flicker of a second, and thereafter, to the body and soul of the workers on whom the roof crumbles as they toil for a pittance, or to the families when their dear ones die or are injured. ‘Standing tall and facing it all together’ seemingly is not in our collective ethos. Hence, incidents of factory collapse hardly make a ripple in the power corridor or in society’s consciousness.
This research report was written for the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) in 2010.
This report is on the status of labour rights in the country. It encompasses four elements: fundamental principles and rights at work and international labour standards; employment and income opportunities; social protection and social security; and social dialogue and tripartism.
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Labour Rights in Pakistan: Declining Decent Work and Emerging Struggles
This research report was written for the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) in 2011.
The report highlights the absence of pro-labour strategies in the country’s economic design. It also highlights the destruction caused by the floods in 2010 and 2011. Consequently, the poor face further deprivation and 2.5 million affectees remain deprived of access to food, water, shelter and healthcare facilities. The flood affectees and working poor of the country do not have decent employment and the state has failed in rehabilitating them. The situation is worsened by an economic policy that relies heavily on exports.
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Labour Rights in Pakistan: Expanding Informality and Diminishing Wages
This research report was written for the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) in 2007.
The report assesses the working conditions and employment situation in Pakistan. Apart from the secondary sources of media reports and internet, the report includes the input obtained through surveys, rapid assessments and sector profiles not to mention the national conventions of workers in the textile, brick kilns, transport, construction and light engineering sectors organised by PILER in 2005.
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Denial and Discrimination: Labour Rights in Pakistan
Published in Dawn on March 23 2015
While trade unions in Pakistan are by and large led exclusively by men, women too have played an important role in labour struggles in the informal sector.
Whether it was tenants rising up against landlords in the pre-Partition era, brick kilns and agricultural workers struggling for freedom from bondage in contemporary Sindh and Punjab, the peasants’ resistance against the military for land rights, or the fisherfolk’s struggle for rights on natural resources, women have emerged as leaders. They have mobilised marginalised communities to tackle tough challenges.