Campaigning for workers’ rights can land you on a hitman’s list
Karachi: A trade union activist is facing a death threat for his efforts to have the factory workers in the Korangi Industrial Area (KIA) registered by a labour welfare organisation.
Malik Amjad Awan has been warned that if he did not stop working for the welfare of the labourers, he should be ready to get targeted by an assassin. Awan, the president of the National Trade Union Federation Landhi Korangi chapter, has been actively campaigning for workers’ rights.
“A man, who is the brother of two contractors with a heavy stake in a few leather factories, approached me and told me to think about my own welfare first,” Awan told The News. “I was warned to first think about my own safety and that of my three children and forget about the rights of the labourers.”
Awan had recently filed a plea with the director general (operations) of the Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI), demanding that it should register all KIA workers, which are around 500,000 in number. On his plea, the EOBI official had directed his staff to start the registration of the workers and submit a report to him.
Awan said the brother of the contractors told him that hiring the services of an assassin for Rs40,000 or Rs50,000 was not a problem if he (Awan) caused any losses to them.
“Even working for labourers’ rights has become dangerous these days and the accomplices of some industrialists or contractors can openly harass an activist.” Awan was also told that he would have to face police action as the contractors were very influential and well-connected.