Faisalabad Powerlooms Workers protest leaders detention
March 1, 2011: Large number of powerloom workers staged protest rallies in different parts of the city before holding a joint sit-in at the District Council Chowk on Tuesday for the release of four labour leaders arrested under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The rallies were taken out on the call of Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM) from Samundri Road, Dhudiwala, Samanabad, Faizabad, Jhang Road, Sargodha Road and Rashidabad. Later, the protesters gathered at the District Council Chowk where they blocked traffic for nine hours. They cleared the busy thoroughfare only after police assured them that the ATA would be deleted from the challan.
Earlier, the protesters chanted slogans against the police for booking Fazal Elahi, Rana Riaz, Babar Randhawa and Akbar Kamboh on “politically-motivated charges”.
Thekriwala police had registered a case against the labour leaders on July 20 when the powerloom workers, seeking a raise in their wages, went on strike. The accused leaders had allegedly tried to get some of the units closed by force.
Their bail pleas were also rejected by the Lahore High Court.Talking to Dawn, Rana Tahir, LQM district president, alleged a Punjab minister belonging to Faisalabad and a member of the national assembly had been trying to suppress the voice of labourers by implicating them in cases.
He claimed the case against the arrested leaders was entirely bogus as they had not committed any act of terror. He said the Section 7ATA was added to the FIR three months after the registration of the case.
A couple of weeks ago family members of the detained leaders had also staged a demonstration and besieged the Regional Police Officer’s office.
Police officials said the case was now in the court and they could not do anything.
The labour leaders, however, said the police officials had promised them during the investigation that 7-ATA would be deleted but they did not honour their words.