Saturday, March 7, 2015

Raise Awareness Of Cervical Cancer On International Women Day

By: Shariqa Ahmed
On March 8th, the world everywhere celebrates International Women Day. We hear a lot about equality for women at workplaces or domestic issues but many of the health issues which women are facing go unheard. Like breast cancer, cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women around the globe.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fire in Garment Factory of Baldia Town and real miscrients

After two years of the Garment Factory of Baldia Town incident the rangers have come up with the joint interrogation report (JIT) saying that factory was burnt by a faction group of a political party. Suddenly popped up JIT is very different then the research reports and judicial commission reports.

 The incident took place on September 11th 2012. In the early days of the incident, the owners of the factory, Abdul Aziz and Arshad Bhalia, and CEO of the factory Shahid Bhalia were arrested in charge of negligence and murder of 257 workers.

Some of the national and international reports are shared below with the references:

First of all, the Human Right Commission Pakistan called upon the government to start criminal proceedings against the Factory owners due to inhuman working environment.  

The first labor body of Pakistan, National Trade Union Federation Pakistan (NTUF), was the first one to carry the research investigation on the incident. According to their report:

National Trade Union Federation Pakistan (NTUF)

-          The main cause of these deaths is unprotected working environment.  Many of the stranded workers died of suffocation as they were trapped in a factory with NO EMERGENCY EXITS available.

-          With more focuses on profit with estimated turnover 10 to 50 million US dollars a year, compared with the salary of skilled worker between $50 to $100 paid at the end of the month.

-          The fateful day was the PAY DAY for the workers; therefore, off duty workers were also present in the factory.

-          The fire broke from the first floor where all the supplies including inflammable materials and chemicals were kept.

-          Many workers revealed that it was the THIRD incident of the factory. Previous TWO incidents had occurred due to ELECTRIC SHORT-CIRCUIT.

-          The second incident took place in the month of February of the same year but factory management didn’t take place any precautionary measures.

-          According to survived victims, the owners and management committed heinous crime by not letting workers to escape for their lives. And ordered them to first salvage the materials, machinery and finished products.

-          The survived victims confirmed that the emergency gates were locked and main electric gate was also locked on the instruction of the management.

-          The criminal intentional negligence was that there were no emergency alarms.

-          There was only one entrance and entry point which was also blocked due to materials and merchandise dumped there.

-          It is confirmed by the Labor department of Government of Sindh that Ali Enterprises was not officially registered under the factories ACT 1934.

-          The building design pf the factory was also not approved by the building control authority.

-          Another illegality by the owners was that majority of the workers were not registered with any social security institutions which is mandatory under the labor law.  

-          None of the members of the commission, formed by government, were expert in inquiring about such incident.

-          The factory is also suspected of using child labor and locked workplaces analogous to prison cells. The owner of the factory, Abdul Aziz, had reportedly prevented inspections of the factory.

Another point to be noted is that, the then labor Minister of Sindh, Ameer Nawab, resigned from his post saying that Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has stopped him taking action against factories violating labor laws.

An international organization, Ethical Trading initiative (ETI), which is a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs, reported upon one year anniversary that Shehzad Ali who survived and was working on the second floor said:

"The electricity went off with a sound of a blast, followed by four to five more explosions that filled the entire floor with poisonous gas. There was total chaos as people ran for safety but found no way to escape because the main entrance and the gate on the second floor were closed."
International Labor Rights Forum narrated:
Talking to Daily Times, Muhammad Jabbir, the 22-year-old son of Muhammad Jahanzeeb who died during the fire, and the organizer of Factory Affectees Association expressed his grief. “It is ironic a factory doing business with international client without registration and proper safety environment while the government and officials were turning a blind eye.”
A judicial inquiry held by Justice Zahid Qurban Alvi reported that a short circuit caused the fire. The report cited several factors that exacerbated the situation leading to the loss of life, including the late arrival of fire tenders, the lack of fire hydrants, and traffic congestion. The tribunal was highly critical of the factory owners and government, which failed to enforce the law. It also criticized the police’s forensic department for failing to conduct a scientific investigation.
Factory owners and Management and negligence:
Shahid Bhalia, one of the owners of the factory, managed to get Fake Certificate from an audit company that everything is okay in the factory to fulfill the demand of the developed countries.
The windows were sealed by the rods for the security.
The Fire exit was only exists on the paper and factory had no fire exit.
There was no proper warehouse or godown for the material and merchandise and therefore the hallways were blocked by the merchandise.
Most of the skilled workers were hired under wage and forced to work long hours. Most of them were not registered by any social security institution which is mandatory by law.
Another owner, Abdul Aziz, managed to prevent factory from inspection.
Arshad Bhalia is the member of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries besides having membership of Readymade Garments Association of Pakistan. He has business family background and was influential enough to keep authorities concerned silent over labor issues.
The sources said that the owner is closely related to former Prime Minister Pakistan, Yousuf Raza Gilani, who influenced to get Bhalia out of the jail.

Not to forget that 97% factories in Pakistan are running in such inhumane condition with unregistered and over crowded workers. 67% factories are located in Karachi , mostly textile industry. they are earning much needed foreign exchange at the cost of cheap labor and no insurances for the workers.

Blaming on political parties and issues like extortion will only do bad to the workers and poor labors, as the judiciary will close the case by punishing few political workers of any opponent party and rest of the work force will keep working in such poor conditions.

Should we let this case become politicized for few political gain and senate election and risk the lives of millions of workforce?

What investigation has been done in two years to find out about the unidentified workers who were buried as unknown?

Are all victims compensated as they were promised by the government?

The research for last two questions replied with big NO!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Political acuity by: Farheen Rizvi

سیاسی دور اندیشی
تحریر فرحین رضوی


بدقسمتی سے آج ہمارا ملک جس جگہ کھڑا ہے۔ وہ ہماری کوئی ایک یا 5،دس سال نہیں بلکہ روز اول سے بنائی گئی کمزور پالیسیو ں کا نتیجہ ہے۔
 نہ جانے کیا سوچ کر ہماری اندرونی اور بیرونی پالیساں مرتب کی جاتی ہیں کہ جس سے ملک یا ملکی عوام کو نہیں بلکہ حکمرانوں کا ہی فائدہ ہوتا نظر آتاہے.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Does Pakistan have a Revolutionary leader? by Baber Lodhi

The below blog is written by Baber Lodhi
If we take a look at the history of human development we'll see that a revolutionary movement driven out by Social Injustice and victimization has challenged the status quo during every age. It's worth mentioning here that not every Revolutionary movement gets success in achieving it's objectives but very few. A revolutionary leader with a clear vision and firm belief is the most important ingredient of a successful Revolution, the rest includes organization, motivation and the courage to face adversaries in the way of achieving the ultimate goal.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Politics behind Azadi March by Kashif Hasan Syed

The below analysis on Imran Khan's Azadi march is written by Kashif Hasan Syed

On June 27th, in Bahawalpur Jalsa PTI leader Imran Khan announced Azadi march and sit-in at Blue area, Islamabad. Last year, federal capital Islamabad witnessed a similar sit-in, that time led by Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), which ended with a promise of election reforms by then PPP led government but the promise of election reforms never materialized. Imran khans sole reason for Azadi march and sit-in is that he believes elections held on May 11th 2013 were rigged. Initially he demanded investigation in four constituencies, which he alleged rigging by voter thumb verification. While speaking at Bahawalpur, Imran changed his stance from investigation of four seats to a complete audit of elections that took place in May of 2013. He further stated that it's the final round.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Why Local Government? by Kashif Hasan Syed

The article on  the need and importance of Local Government is written by
An effective local government plays a major social and economic role in a vibrant society. By definition it's the form of government that is closest to the citizen of the state. It’s a form of government where citizens resolve their grievances at local level. Its main function is to safeguard interest and wellbeing of a community. A successful local government enjoys the trust of the community and behaves like a spring board for its growth and economic uplift. Even in countries who witnessed high economic growth rate, absence of local governance made it difficult for delivery of essential services to the citizen due to distant government. Hence there is increased emphasis on decentralization and devolution for better delivery of services the state has to offer.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pakistan’s internal security challenges beyond 2014 (Part 2) by : Kashif Hasan Syed

Part 2 of analysis by Kashif Hasan Syed

Karachi being the economic capital of Pakistan has a pivotal place in Pakistan internal security but Karachi is also a city where state has failed to provide security to life and property of its citizens, arising from street crimes, organized crimes, intolerance and extremism. The city of 20 million habitants generates 65 percent of country’s revenue and 25 percent of GDP. Despite generating bulk of Pakistan's revenue Karachi gives a look of a neglected city with crumpling infrastructure and ever growing population, bulk of which comprising of workers migrating from others provinces especially Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. After Pakistan efforts to control home grown militancy, Karachi witnessed a substantial increase in influx of Pashtuns from KPK. Beside victims of war, came the Taliban and other extremist element fleeing the operation up North. Local Pashtun population made it difficult to identify them as they were able to gel easily in the Pashtun dominant areas of Karachi.

Pakistan’s internal security challenges beyond 2014 (Part 1) by Kashif Hasan Syed

This analysis is written by Kashif Hasan Syed

From its birth Pakistan as a nation has faced security challenges from forces within and without. During early years, Pakistan had to go to war with her neighbor India over Kashmir, her stand that Indian control of Kashmir defies the basic principles of subcontinent division. Three major wars with India took place in years 1948, 1965 and 1971. 1971 marks the unforgettable part of the nation’s history where it faced dismemberment due to failure of the military and political leadership to amicably resolve their political differences after the historic elections. The west Pakistan gave lead to Bhutto's PPP "Roti, Kapra and Makan" slogan whereas East gave lead to Mujib-ur-Rahman’s Bengali nationalism. Bhutto came at the helm of affairs of what was left of Jinnah's Pakistan as first president and civil martial law administrator. But in his tenure he introduced his own brand of Islamic socialism, giving in to Islamic opposition parties, Jamat -e - Islami and JUI in particular, with subsequent Islamization of 1973 constitution.