Karachi: ‘Extortionists’ remanded
KARACHI: Six industrial labourers, who were arrested from Ittehad Town, were remanded in police custody till March 29 by the Anti Terrorism Court No 2 on Saturday. However, the All Ittehad Power Looms Workers Union says that these “workers” have been booked under Anti Terrorism Act but it was an industrial dispute and the workers were only demanding their due rights, while the police allege that these workers were demanding extortion from the employer.
According to defence council Sardar Azmat Hussain advocate the ATC Judge Khalida Yasmin was shown the injuries of the suspects which they suffered during “torture” at the police station and the judge directed the Investigation Officer (IO) Said Karim to provide medical treatment to the suspects and avoid torturing them in any case.
Advocate Hussain claims that this case was not applicable under the Anti-Terrorism Act as these labourers had committed the “offence” of forming union which is authorized under the law. He said at most they could be charged under sections 147 and 148 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
The general secretary of the union, Muhammad Amin, who was also nominated in the FIR by Mochko police station, told this scribe that how could these workers be charged as extortionists when the management had signed an agreement with them (the union) on November 3, 2011 to give them some incentives.
Deputy General Secretary of National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) Nasir Mansoor said that these “suspects” had just committed the mistake of forming union to get their due rights, “which was not acceptable to the employer”.
He said one of the suspects in the case Naik Muhammad had tortures marks under his feet, whereas other one Saif-ur–Rahman had raptures on his hands due to police torture. Similarly, he added, Irshad had deep injury marks under his eyes when he was produced in the court.
He alleged that the Mochko police had been forcing these workers to accept the charges of being extortionists before some media persons, which they refused. He said these workers had even approached Labor Directorate to get their rights like medical facility, social security benefits and proper working time.
He further said that instead of holding negotiations with the labourers through proper channel the employer got registered a case against these workers under the Anti Terrorism Act.
Mansoor appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of the situation when some labourers were being charged as extortionists under the Anti Terrorism Court.
He said that dozens of labourers sacrificed their lives when the lawyers’ movement was at peak for the restoration of independent judiciary.
He further said that the labourers have been facing worst problems than the labourers who had sacrificed their lives in Chicago on May 1st, which is being celebrated worldwide.
A few days ago, police and Rangers had conducted an operation in Ittehad Town and arrested some workers of the said union. Later, 12 workers were booked for demanding extortion from the employer.
The union says that these workers were protesting against the layoff of 350 labourers from six industrial units being owned by a known exporter.