Pakistani workers condemn war
By Farooq Suleria
LAHORE, Pakistan — On June 25, 500 workers attending the annual general meeting of Itehad (Unity) Carpet Industry Workers Union of Pakistan condemned the war efforts of the ruling classes of both Pakistan and India.
The meeting was addressed by Khurshid Ahmed, general secretary of the Pakistan Workers Confederation (the main body representing organised workers in Pakistan); Yousaf Baluch, the confederation's information secretary; Gulzar Ahmed Choudry, general secretary of the All Pakistan Trade Union Federation; and Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP).
Expressing the views of all of the labour leaders at the meeting, Tariq said that the workers of both countries would be the real losers if the war between India and Pakistan escalates. Only the rich, who would enhance their profits, would benefit, he said. Tariq stressed the need to build a peace movement to counter the fundamentalists.
Most of the carpet workers were from Frontier Province and are generally thought to be conservative and supporters of the mujahideen fighters. At this meeting, however, the overwhelming majority opposed the war.
The carpet workers' union general secretary, Niaz Khan, also a leader of the LPP, said the bosses have one month to agree to the carpet workers' demands for better wages, social security provisions and better safety measures. He warned that if the demands are not met, the strike of 1977, which won a 20% pay rise for this most exploited section of the working class in Pakistan, will be repeated. The carpet workers are in a mood to fight.
[Farooq Suleria, a leader of the LPP, will be speaking at the Resistance national conference in Melbourne, July 8-11. See page ?? for details.]