FAISALABAD: In an apparent u-turn on the registration of criminal cases against labour leaders for extortion by power loom owners, the Labour Quami Movement (LQM) took out a protest rally in Ghulam Mohammadabad on Saturday to condemn the police, the district administration and the loom owners for allegedly fabricating cases to pressure workers.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, LQM chairman Mian Qayyum said the police had warned them that some LQM leaders, not identified, were involved in extortion.
“We had earlier stated on principle that we were against extortion,” he said. “They have now provided us a list of the people accused. It includes genuine labour leaders who have nothing to do with extortion.”
Labour Party spokesman Farooq Tariq, however, said that only one of the men had been involved in extortion. He said that was why his membership had been suspended by the LQM.
“Ironically, the owners are not complaining against him now that he has joined a union they favour,” he said.
He said that the recent argument followed loom workers refusal to clean the factory and their demand that factory owners employ separate workers for cleaning.
Raza Abad SHO Abdul Majeed Gujjar said that three labour leaders, Mian Javed, Allah Ditta and Mohammad Munir, had been arrested out of the 10 nominated in the FIR.
Addressing the LQM rally, Farooq Tariq said that workers will not allow power loom owners to harass them.
“Nine labour leaders are already in jail facing 590 years on false pretexts,” he said.
“This time, workers are in no mood to allow victimization. The administration and police should be aware of this.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2012.