A Statement from Labour Education Foundation forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

Anti-Terrorist Court’s judge Mian Muhammad Anwar Nazir sentenced six Labour Qaumi Movement’s leaders for 10 years each under terrorism charges in Faisalabad, Punjab province this evening.

Four Labour Quami Movement (LQM’s) leaders Akbar Ali Kamboh, Babar Shafiq Randhawa, Fazal Elahi, Rana Riaz Ahmed were arrested on July 22, 2010 by Faisalabad police after a strike call by power loom workers for 17% increase in wages as per announcement of the government. Two other leaders Muhammad Aslam Malik and Asghar Ali Ansari were also arrested under same charges four months back.

Arrests of the workers under terrorism charges and this decision by the court is result of a notorious campaign by the owners, district administration and local politicians against rising power loom workers movement in Faisalabad. Punjab Government’s actions against workers are increasing with everyday. Appointments of Aftab Cheema as District Police Officer (DPO0 and Nasim Sadiq as District Coordination Officer (DCO) of Faisalabad last year by Shehbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, were mainly to control the rising movement of workers. These two officers made many promises with LQM leadership to re-investigate the case against arrested workers but did not fulfil these promises. Instead they have supported owners of the power looms in their actions against workers.

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