LAHORE: A large number of workers took to streets in several cities on Wednesday to protest the proposed privatisation of Wapda being done, what they say, “at the behest of the IMF and the World Bank and at the cost of the poor people of Pakistan”.

Terrorism, aggravating unemployment rate due to the energy crisis, and the law and order situation in the country were the other concerns voiced by workers at demonstrations arranged by the All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union (CBA) in Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Gujranwala, Rahim Yar Khan, Larkana, Sukkur, Hyderabad and Quetta.

In Lahore, a large number of workers gathered at Labour Hall and marched on Shimla Pahari where they held a demonstration.

Amid anti-privatisation chants, workers warned they would march on Islamabad in case the government went ahead with its plans to privatise national utilities.

Presented by veteran trade union leader Khurshid Ahmed along with Rana Abdul Shakoor, Chaudhry Maqsood, Rana Akram, Sajid Kazmi, Sheikh Shoaib, Raqeeb Shah and Usman Jadoon, a resolution urged the government to allocate sufficient resources to build new hydel and thermal powerhouses in the public sector.

They demanded the government make energy theft a cognizable offence and establish special courts to punish the thieves.

It regretted that the government could not control inflation that had made the life of the common man miserable.

Trade union leader Khurshid Ahmed urged the four provinces to ensure the implementation of all labour laws, including social security, old-age benefits, safety and health for workers at all industrial and commercial establishments in accordance with the principles of ILO’s Convention 81 ratified by the Pakistani government.

Mr Ahmed proposed that instead of getting dictation from the IMF, the government widen the tax base.

FAISALABAD: Dozens of the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company employees staged a protest rally against the proposed privatisation of the company.

The rally by the All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Central Labour Union began from Kutchery Bazaar and culminated in front of the press club.

Mian Rasheed Ahmed, regional secretary of the union, told reporters Fesco was a profitable organisation with minimum line losses.

He said the recovery of the company was also 100 per cent. Ignoring all these facts, he said the government was hell-bent to privatise Fesco but the workers would not allow the government to materialise its plan.

Union’s regional chairman Ghulam Jaffar said Fesco had trillion of rupees assets, however, the rulers were handing over the company to their blue-eyed people at low cost.

TOBA TEK SINGH: Fesco employees observed strike against the proposed privatisation of Fesco.

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