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Civil society demands security for mineworkers, Hazara Shias

Condemning the brutal killing of 11 mine workers in Balochistan by terrorists, rights activists and civil society members along with labour leaders on Monday demanded of the government to ensure the occupational safety of mineworkers at their workplaces across the country.

In a joint statement, Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), Asad Iqbal Butt of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Habibuddin Junaidi of the Peoples Labour Bureau, Liaqat Sahi of the Democratic Workers Union at the State Bank of Pakistan, Nasir Mansoor of the National Trade Union Federation, Mahnaz Rahman of the Aurat Foundation, Farhat Parween of the National Organisation of Working Communities, Zehra Khan of the Home-based Women Workers Federation, and Saeed Baloch of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum demanded foolproof security for the Hazara community people in Balochistan.

“Hazaras of Balochistan have been the target of terrorists for many years and many people of this community have lost lives in a number of terrorist acts of bomb blasts, firings and target killings,” the statement said.

It demanded that the families of the deceased mineworkers be provided compensation according to the labour laws and international standards. “This amount should not be less than Rs1.5 million,” the statement added.

The labour and civil society leaders expressed serious concerns over deteriorating law and order conditions in Balochistan and the non-availability of proper security at the mines.

“Incidents of kidnapping and torture of mine workers are reported in local media and deadly accidents are occurring at the mines in Balochistan. The main reason for this insecurity of workers is the running of the coal mines by petty contractors, who don’t consider themselves responsible for the provision of occupational safety and health of workers. The provincial labour department has also failed to ensure the safety of the miners,” the statement said.

The labour leaders said: “The law enforcement agencies have failed to protect the lives of mine workers and it is an utter failure of the police, levies, the FC and other law enforcement agencies, which are responsible for the law and order in Balochistan”.

They added: “The heads of the security agencies should be made accountable, who failed to protect the lives of workers.”

They also demanded an immediate arrest of the terrorists and called for strict action against their operators. “Speedy trials of the responsible terrorists belonging to Daesh and al-Qaeda should be conducted after their arrest in order to provide justice to the affected families,” they demanded.

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