LAHORE: The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) should unanimously decide the wages of labourers, working hours and health facilities so that capitalist forces do not hire labour on cheap rates, says Noor Zaheer, daughter of Sajjad Zaheer, pioneer of the Progressive Writers Association.

He was speaking at an event organised in honour of Ms Zaheer at the South Asian Free Media Association on Saturday.

Herself a writer and a worker of the Communist Party of India, Ms Zaheer said big industrialists looked for cheap labour in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh and the trend should end. Saarc counties should formulate a unanimous policy on the matter and measures should be taken to elevate the standard of life of labourers, she said.

During question-answer session, the audience asked Noor Zaheer about the socio-political conditions in India, her literary contributions and efforts to save the Buddhist wall paintings.

She said religious problems did exist in India. She said a lot of money was being spent on religious extremism and there was a need to take steps to liberalise the communities there.

Talking about corruption, she said Pakistan perhaps had a genuine reason for corruption. Here military dictatorship ruled most of the time after the partition which had its own consequences but India had no such excuse where acceptance of corruption was growing.

Regarding implementation of International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention, Ms Zaheer said efforts were being made to implement the convention but there were many forces which countered such efforts.

Experimentation was being done in literature but time would decide what would remain of the literature being produced, she said, adding literature should focus problems of the common man.

Noor Zaheer talked about her efforts for saving the Buddhist wall paintings, saying saving of the great treasure was also associated with the preservation of culture and values.

Amjad Saleem from Sanjh said Noor Zaheer was a multi-dimensional personality. In her book, Meray Hissay Ki Roshani, he said, the description of her mother, Razia Sajjad Zaheer, was praiseworthy.

I. A. Rehman was also present.

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