Brussels, 5 November 2007: The ITUC has joined its Pakistan affiliate, the PWF, in calling for the immediate restoration of the rule of law, the country’s Constitution and the fundamental democratic rights of its people. Fundamental rights including freedom of association and of assembly have been suspended under the state of emergency imposed by Pakistan’s military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, heavy restrictions have been imposed on the media, members of the opposition have been detained, and the government is placing further pressure on lawyers and the judiciary.
“The Constitution, rule of law and proper democratic processes must be restored”, said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder. “General Musharraf’s actions represent a huge step backwards for the whole country, and any attempt to deal with the tensions which exist within Pakistan cannot succeed unless it is based on the full exercise of democratic rights by the people of Pakistan”.
Restrictions which are being imposed on the holding of meetings and demonstrations will have a particuarly heavy impact on Pakistan’s workforce, as their trade unions will be unable to function freely and effectively to represent workers and support their rights. The ITUC calls on the authorities to respect Pakistan’s international obligations, in particular concerning freedom of association, and to take immediate steps to end the state of emergency and enable the elections scheduled for January 2008 to take place in full freedom and fairness.
Related: IUF – “Trade Unionists Arrested In Pakistan Clampdown”:
On November 5; in Karachi, trade unions took the lead in organizing, together with civil society organizations, a protest at the Karachi Press Club. Police arrested the convener of the PC Hotel Workers Solidarity Committee, Liaqat Ali Sahi, and two members of the Solidarity Committee, G. Fareed Awan, Assistant General Secretary of the All-Pakistan Trade Unions’ Federation (APTUF) and Ayub Qureshi, Information Secretary of the Pakistan Trade Union Federation (PTUF). Police also baton charged and arrested journalists and press photographers. The journalists and photographers were released later but not the trade union leaders, who were remanded by court decision to remain in police custody for two days.