Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has blamed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led federal government for strangulating the labour and working classes of Pakistan.
Speaking at a ceremony of handing over possessions of labour flats in Sukkur district on Monday, Bilawal asserted that without ousting PTI from power the condition of the labourers will only deteriorate.
“The [federal] government is conspiring across the country to make labourers working in government organisations redundant though they be the workers of Pakistan International Airlines, Radio Pakistan, Pakistan Tourism Department and other organisations,” Bilawal alleged. “The livelihoods of around 10,000 families of the steel mills have been snatched.”
He vowed that the PPP will remain the voice of laborus who are being made jobless and that they will be supported in the assemblies, court and at all other forums. He criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative of providing low cost housing arguing that the move is not meant for the poor but for the elite class.
He reminded the people of the premier’s promise to construct 10 million houses for the poor people of Pakistan saying that they initially thought that Khan is stealing one of the points from PPP’s manifesto. “We thought that he would construct homes for the poor people like Zulfiqar Bhutto introduced 5 Marla scheme in Punjab and established labour colonies across the country. But later we came to know this was a conspiracy.”
He claimed that on one hand the builder mafia will protect its black money and on the other hand the government will take ownership of their all projects. He also refuted the government’s claim that it wanted to develop the islands in Karachi for the common people, saying that only the rich class will benefit from such projects. “In reality the government is snatching roofs from the heads of the poor people.”
Bilawal said the PPP is trying to provide all possible facilities to the working class within the limited financial resources at the provincial government’s disposal. He censured the Centre for denying the Employees Old Age Benefit Institution’s support to the labours in Sindh.
“They [the Centre] also want to steal your NICVD [National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases],” the PPP chairman alleged. He cautioned that under the federal control the free health services being provided at the NICVD will be compromised and that the regular employees of the hospital will be reduced to contractual employees. “This anti-people government of PTI is conspiring in that direction.”
He said after ousting the PTI government, a government which will serve the people and which will provide relief to the poor will be brought to power.
Labour cards, flats
He told that the provincial government is going to launch the revolutionary programme of distribution of labour cards in Sindh. Bilawal said following the footsteps of his grandfather and former PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, his mother, former PM Benazir Bhutto, and his father, former president Asif Ali Zardari, he will carry forward the mission of making lives of the labourers easier. “The labourers though they may be working in an industry or driving a rickshaw, or a cart vendor, a watchman or a gardener, they all will receive the Benazir Mazdoor Card and all the facilities which the card brings.”
Speaking about the 1,024 labour flats in Sukkur, the possession of which is being handed over to the labourers, he said Sukkur’s Mazdoor city also provides a hospital, a training institute and educational institutions besides residence to the labourers. The PPP’s leader also inaugurated a child life emergency care ward in Sukkur. He told that similar wards have been opened in Nawabshah, Larkana and Hyderabad, adding that a similar ward will be inaugurated in Ghotki district after two weeks.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2021.