Niaz Khan, the leader of carpet
workers union, was produced in Lahore High Court, hand
cuffed with a contingent of police on 27 May.
Two other union leaders of Inter Wood were also brought
Niaz khan is framed in a robbery case that took place in
2006, he is not even nominated in the case. This is the
worst sort of police tactics against ordinary people.
The only crime is to help the Inter Wood furniture
factory workers to form a trade union.
At the court, the judge heard the arguments of Rabia
Bajwa but did not agree them to release them on bail. He
did not notice the torture of these leaders. He was a
PCO judge. He tried to shut me up, when as petitioner, I
told him that Niaz Khan is not an unknown leader, even
the minister of Labour in Punjab is in court to show
solidarity with labour leaders framed in robbery and so
on. The judge told me in angry tone, that I am trying to
influence him through the minister. I had to be quit on
this. I did not want any further argument on this as it
was clear that the judge has made up his mind not to
release the leaders.
While we were outside the court discussing the future
tactics, a massive blast shook every one. There was a
panic. We saw the clouds from the Mall road side. The
glasses of nearby buildings were shattered even here.
While the CID was busy rounding up the trade union
leaders, the religious fanatics were able to make
another effort to bomb the main police station of
Lahore, killing over 26.
Later police produced Niaz at a magistrate and he gave
the police three days of physical remand.
When the other two were produced to another magistrate,
he refused to listen to police story and said these are
bogus allegations. Workers has a right of assemble and
it is just victimisation.
The magistrate asked the police to release the two union
leaders on the spot. He dismissed the police case. This
was a great victory. The other 9 union leaders who were
not arrested yet in the same case will have now the
benefit of this ruling.
Later, in the evening, the labour minister visited Niaz
Khan at police station. But what a tragedy? A minister
is unable to force the police to withdraw a false case.
But he is trying his best, we believe.
We postponed our rally in Lahore after blast. We had
made all arrangements, over 1000 workers were expected
but we could not have a demo at a time where are bodies
of police men nearby.
The rally will be organized in few days.
Niaz Khan is one of the most
honest trade union leader, I have ever met.
He is general secretary Ittehad Union carpet industries
Pakistan. Last night, while I was writing a mail about
the arrest of some trade union leaders at 12pm, he was
picked up by Central Intelligence Department (CID)
official from his home.
This morning, Daud Khan came to my home to break the
I immediately contacted the National Committee member of
Labour Party Pakistan. Niaz Khan is a founder member of
LPP since 1997. It was agreed to fight back.
We sent sms to all LPP active members around the country
telling about the arrests and demanding to do something.
There are over 500 in our this sms list. They are
regularly informed by this about the activities of LPP.
We found this very effective mean of communication and
consultation. It is much more effective than email.
We sent another sms to all LPP contacts and also to a
list of journalists. They were informed of the arrests.
The police has arrested our leaders to break the back of
the trade union movement. Their strategy was to use
suppression of police to break the will of the workers
to change the system. They bribed the police to arrest.
11 leaders of InterWood newly formed union were charged
by police in false allegations of Harrissing the factory
Niaz Khan was just picked up and we did not know about
his where abouts. The first priority was to find him. A
police constable called a comrade to break the news that
CID police at Model Town Lahore has picked him. We sent
Niaz brother to the police station but they refused to
let him enter the police station and told him that he is
We had called an urgent meeting at 11am of all the main
leaders of trade unions who are member of LPP to chart
out a strategy. Over 30 turned up including the leaders
of Women Workers Help Line. After an hour of discussion,
it was agreed to call a press conference today at 4pm,
to launch a habeaus corpus appeal at Lahore High Court,
to call a nationwide day of action against the attacks
on trade unions on Wednesday 27 May.
I called our advocate Rabia Bajwa to file the appeal at
LHC. Committees were formed to mobilize the activists at
Lahore rally, to start from Regal Chouck to Chief
Minister House on 27 May 4pm. A target of 1000 was set
Leading LPP comrades were called around the country to
organize similar activities. They agreed.
It was decided that National Trade Union Federation will
organize the day of action.
At Lahore High Court, as petitioner, I had to sign
documents and bring my identity card. Rabia Bajwa has
written a good petition. We nominated Intelligence
police chief as responsible for arrests. We prayed that
LHC send ballifs to two places to recover the kidnapped
At 2pm, a high court judge Zafar Iqbal Choudry heard the
case and after arguments, he ordered to send two ballifs.
It was our first victory. it was nearly 3.30pm and at
4pm, I had to speak at a press conference along Yousaf
Baluch chairman NTUF and Azra Shad chairperson WWHL. We
left two comrades here at the court to deposit Rupees
5000 as guarantee and make other arrangement for Ballifs.
At Lahore Press Club, over 40 comrades had gathered.
Almost all the main television channels were covering
the event. The room was full to capacity. We announced
the plan of fight back, a strike of carpet workers in
Lahore on 27 May, a complete strike of textile workers
in Faisalabad on 28 May and nationwide demos on 27 May.
The press was sympathetic and heard us in appreciation
I was called at Lahore High Court again to go along with
the ballifs. It was nearly 6pm when we left for Model
Town police center. As we arrived inside, I saw Niaz
Khan sitting with other prisoners in a state of shock
and disbelief. I shouted to ballif, a lawyer appointed
by LHC, "he is here, I saw him". Niaz Khan was asked to
meet us, as he arrived, I immediately noticed that he is
beaten up. I asked him if police has beaten him, he
could not speak properly and told us that whole night,
he is been subject to police beatings. Also this
afternoon he was again thrashed by police.
We found out that he is been charged of a robbery that
took place in 2006. This was fabrication. His real crime
was to help a union to register at labour department.
The ballif gave the orders of LHC to produce him
tomorrow morning before the judge. He also noticed that
police formally arrested him this afternoon and not the
time he was picked up last night.
We bought him some essentials.
On the way back home, I was called by Ashraf Sohna, the
Punjab Labour Minister. He belongs to PPP. He heard
about my press conference. He was very sorry of the
police treatment of Niaz Khan. He was angry on them. I
invited him to come to Lahore High Court and also to the
rally, he agreed. Since then, he has called me three
time to tell that he has spoken to Inspector General of
Police in Punjab about Niaz Khan and others. He
confirmed that he will be in the court room tomorrow to
show solidarity with arrested workers.
While I was writing this mail, I got another call from
Faisalabad that our arrested leaders have been beaten up
severally by police as well. I then called to Faisalabad
police chief and asked him to stop police brutalities.
He said he is unaware and will take a notice of that.
We will fight back despite
all these. We have no other way but to break the chains.
Latest about Niaz Khan's and Interwood trade union
This evening two Bailiffs on orders of Lahore High Court
were issued for recovery of the arrested trade union
leaders; Niaz Khan, general sectary, Ittehad Labour
Union Carpet Industries Pakistan and leader of National
Trade Union Federation and Kurram Shehzad and Abdul
Qadir of the Interwood Furniture Company. This was a
petition by Farooq Tariq against Umar Virk, SP-CIA ,
Muhammad Boota, DSP and Sharjil Butt, SHO, Baghbanpura
When Bailiffs reached the CIA center Model Town and
Baghbanpura Police Station they found that Police have
registered arrests of the trade unions leaders at 12:00
noon today. Police have registered arrest of Niaz Khan
in a false case of dacoity in 2006. A false case of
theft is also registered against 11 union leaders of the
Interwood Company. Niaz Khan was arrested last night
around 1:00 a.m. and Khurram Shehzad and Abdul Qadir
were arrested yesterday at different times. It is an
absolute misconduct on the part of Lahore Police to
register fabricated cases on the union leaders only
because they are organizing workers. Niaz Khan has also
been tortured by the CIA staff last night and this
afternoon as well.
High Court has ordered police to produce Niaz Khan and
Khurrm Shehzad and Abdul Qadir in the court tomorrow.
Against these attacks on the trade unions, the National
Trade Union Federation, Labour Party Pakistan, Labour
Education Foundation and Women Workers Help Line are
organizing a big rally tomorrow in Lahore at 4:00 pm
from Regol Chowk to Chief Minister House. National Trade
Union Federation is also organizing demonstrations in
this connection in Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar.
34 trade union activists and
leaders have been arrested in Faisalabad and Lahore.
The police have conducted late night raids at the homes
of union leaders. 30 activists of Labour Qaumi Movement
(LQM), a Faisalabad based labour organization of textile
workers, have been arrested under serious charges of
attempt of murder, dacoit and kidnapping. The arrested
include two main leaders of LQM, Rana Tahir and Raja
Arshad. Their real crime is to register a union at Kamal
Textile Mills Faisalabad, the first such union to be
organized in the factory. Police has registered a case
against 1300 workers.
trade union leaders were arrested in Lahore including
Niaz Khan General Secretary of Ittehad Labour Union
Carpet Industries Pakistan and leader of National Trade
Union Federation. Niaz Khan had been warned by the CIA
(police agency) not to get involved with the worker's
protest at Interwood factory or else face the wrath of
the state. Niaz Khan stood by the worker's of Interwood
due to which he was arrested from his house in Lahore at
1:00 am. The others who were arrested include Khurram
Shahzad, Abdul Qadir and Amanat Ali. Amanat Ali is the
father of another union activist Khurram Shahzad. When
police could not find Khurram, they shamelessly took his
father instead. Police have been raiding homes of
Interwood workers union last night. Police have
misbehaved with females when they raided houses of union
leaders Ghulam Abbas and Muhammad Akram.
seems to be no difference between the Musharaf
Dictatorship and present democratically elected Punjab
Government when it comes to the workers rights. It is
shameful on part of the Shehbaz Sharif government that
its Police are arresting workers on the behest of owners
of factories because workers are organizing themselves
National Trade Union Federation and Labour Party
Pakistan have announced nationwide protests on the 27th
of May against the brutal suppression of worker's
demands and their legal right to form unions. There will
be demonstrations held all in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar,
Mardan, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and other cities to
express solidarity with the worker's of interwood and
carpet industry. We request all those inside Pakistan to
attend these demonstrations to register their protest
against the anti-worker policies of this government. For
all those outside Pakistan, please send solidarity
messages to raise the morale of those arrested in these
testing times and write protest letters to the
government in order show your disgust at this government
each passing day, the people of Pakistan are realizing
that capitalism offers them nothing except hunger,
poverty, humiliation oppression and war. The last two
months have seen a rise in resistance with a mass
movement of the peasantry and an upsurge in union
activities throughout the country. The LPP will continue
to support these resistance movements until we are able
to rid Pakistan of capitalism, imperialism and
Protest: Interwood Furniture Company's brutal actions
against trade union
workers of the factory are arrested by Police without
are threatening the National Trade Union Federation's
leaders against supporting the Union
23rd May, few of the Interwood Furniture
Company workers who are sacked from job due to
unionization were gathering at some distance from the
factory for going to the labour department in Lahore.
Suddenly a heavy contingent from Shalamar police station
arrived and started baton charging the workers and
arrested four of them. Many workers suffered injuries
due to baton charge and they were forced to disperse.
Till this evening no charges have been put on the
arrested four workers and they have been kept illegally.
The SHO of police station is openly supporting owner of
the company and is harassing the union leadership.
of this company closed the factory on 15th
May due the reason that workers have organized
themselves in union. Due to closure of the factory more
than 800 workers have lost their jobs. It is to be noted
that according to law any factory owner cannot close the
factory without consultation with union. More than 65
workers including 11 office bearers of the Interwood
Workers Ittehad Union have been sacked form jobs by just
sending a letter to their homes. The Union went on
hunger strike on 16th May against this
closure and sacking of workers. After a powerful rally
by the workers on 17th May from Shimla Hill
to Mall road, the Chief Minister took the notice and
asked his office to investigate and resolve the issue.
But when Union leaders visited the Chief Minister
office, they were argued by the officials there to
accept the owner's decisions.
last four days, the owner of company is forcing workers
to sign some papers to get back the job. These papers
include undated resignation from the job, an affidavit
that the workers will remain loyal to him and if they do
not remain loyal may the curse be upon them and their
children. Owner is also registering a pocket union and
these workers are also forced to sign the membership
forms of pocket union.
Majority of workers have still not signed these papers
and are willing to fight for their rights. Union has
filed cases against sacking of workers from jobs and
have also submitted a complaint to District Labour
Officer against the closure of factory. The Labour
Officer told union and NTUF's leaders that he is also
put under lot of pressure for registering the union. He
suggested the union leaders to approach Nawaz Sharif for
solving this issue because the Punjab Government
officials are directly involved in this case and are
openly supporting the owner of Interwood Furniture
Khan, the NTUF leader is receiving phone calls from CIA
persons since last two days that they want to see him.
Today two persons from CIA (police agency) visited LEF
office to see if Niaz Khan, the NTUF leader is sitting
in the office. These persons were then waiting outside
LEF office for few hours to watch the activity of
workers. Punjab government's administration is fully
supporting the owner against workers.
send your protest letters against the Interwood Funiture
Company's owner and the Lahore district administration
and Punjab government officials' support of the owner
against the union. (Some previous information regarding
this union is also enclosed below)
send your protest letters to:
Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister House, Islamabad,
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
2. Mr. A Rehman Malik
Minister for Interior
R Block Pak Secretariat
Tel: +92 51 9212026
Fax: +92 51 9202624
3. Mr. Mian Shahbaz Sharif
Chief Minister of Punjab
H-180 Model Town, Lahore
Fax: +92 42 5881383
4. Minister of Law
Government of Punjab
5. Chief Secretary of Government of Punjab
Fax: +92 42 7324489
6. Dr. Faqir Hussain
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Mr. Salman Taseer
Governor of Punjab
Mall Road, Lahore
Fax: +92 42 9200023
Secretary of Law and Parliamentary affairs
Government of Punjab
10. Labour and Human Resource Minister