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Workers at this mine in Choa Saidan Shah dig coal with pick axes, break it up and load it onto donkeys to be transported to the surface.

Employed by private contractors, a team of four workers can dig about a ton of coal a day, for which they earn around $10 to be split between them.

The coalmine is in the heart of Punjab, Pakistan's most populous and richest province, but the labourers mostly come from the poorer neighbouring region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Miners take a break to drink water inside a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Miners take a break to drink water inside a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Hills which contain coal are seen in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
Hills which contain coal are seen in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Miner Mohammad Ismail, 25, digs in a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Miner Mohammad Ismail, 25, digs in a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A miner wipes sweat from his forehead inside a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A miner wipes sweat from his forehead inside a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A miner covered in coal dust sits inside a mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
A miner covered in coal dust sits inside a mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A miner with a donkey makes his way through the low and narrow tunnel leading out of a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah in Punjab province, April 29, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
A miner with a donkey makes his way through the low and narrow tunnel leading out of a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah in Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Donkeys stand at the entrance of a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
Donkeys stand at the entrance of a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A miner unloads coal as he stands in a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
A miner unloads coal as he stands in a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A miner loads coal onto a truck outside a mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
A miner loads coal onto a truck outside a mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A truck drives past a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
A truck drives past a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Miners pose for a photograph at the coal face inside a mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Miners pose for a photograph at the coal face inside a mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Samiullah, who says he is 14-years-old, sits at the coal face to observe the process of coal mining, underground in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
Samiullah, who says he is 14-years-old, sits at the coal face to observe the process of coal mining, underground in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Samiullah prepares tea after finishing work at a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
Samiullah prepares tea after finishing work at a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Samiullah, who claims to be 14-years-old,washes dishes at a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
Samiullah, who claims to be 14-years-old,washes dishes at a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Samiullah carries water for his uncle's bath at a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
Samiullah carries water for his uncle's bath at a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Samiullah watches the other miners play cricket at a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
Samiullah watches the other miners play cricket at a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A miner plays cricket in the evening at a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
A miner plays cricket in the evening at a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A miner cooks Pashtun roti (bread) after finishing his shift at a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
A miner cooks Pashtun roti (bread) after finishing his shift at a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A miner performs afternoon prayers at a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
A miner performs afternoon prayers at a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Miners rest in their rooms at the end of the day at a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Miners rest in their rooms at the end of the day at a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A miner washes after finishing his shift at a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A miner washes after finishing his shift at a coal mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, April 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Miners watch TV in a room at a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014.  — Photo by Reuters
Miners watch TV in a room at a coal field in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, May 5, 2014. — Photo by Reuters

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Comments (69) Closed



DMDiL Jul 30, 2014 07:29pm

Oh my God, who is allowing them to work in those conditions? This is looking worst than slavery.. Why no Safety and Health regulations being followed? Government need to take some serious notice on issues like this one...

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samad Jul 30, 2014 07:48pm

Its very difficult

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Adeeb Jul 30, 2014 07:49pm

Hain Bohot Sakht Band-e-Mazdoor kay Auqaat

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Khayyam Jul 30, 2014 07:59pm

This is a reason why the entire system needs to be overhauled as per motto of Dr TQ drive for "INQALAB" - there is no justice given to ANYONE! Folks, look at these people closely, they are our human brothers as per rules of God All-mighty. Would you treat your brother, son, any loved one like that for just Rs 120 ($2) a day???? These young men will die for health/respitory reasons at young ages. If you are part of the current govt, reading my message, know that "Allah kee lathi buhat be-awaz hay" ... time is near for accountability Insha-Allah!

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Rogers Evans Jul 30, 2014 08:26pm

It is inhuman way of mining, worst than dark ages slavery. DAWN should send the article and photos to PM House. This will be a very daring and honest action on part of DAWN. May be PM will feel some shame and take action for improvement of mining.

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UnshacklePakistan Jul 30, 2014 08:33pm

No one is forcing these people to work. The conditions are bad but considering the state of the country and the options for work these people have chosen to stay here. Once the standard of living starts rising, only then can more suitable and worker friendly options come to the fore. Privatizing the resource industry will force private employers to compete with each other for employees and for their retention. When the government runs the show there are no repercussions. If the coal mining department loses money, the government gives it more. If a private company started losing money, they'll go out of business. This difference is profitability and relative comparison is necessary to understand the plight of the people.

There is no restriction on those who are willing to voluntarily send goods and money to these miners to have better conditions. Is anyone willing to do it? It all comes down to market competition. Charles Dickens famously described the condition of London with soot all over the city, and smog. Getting the government out and privatization removed all that and lead Britain into an economic strength that caused massive change in the structure of society. We need to get this idea out of our heads that government is the solution. The government is the problem, and replacing one person with the slightly better isn't going to solve that problem. It's only by empowering the private citizens of this country that a new beginning and era can be had.

The Kurds in Turkey are a good example of those who retained their cultural and religious values while being business savvy. It was in the interest of the private Kurds to produce the finest quality to maintain their market share. The honesty and the righteousness were a result of striving for that profit, and not the other way around.

Al Ghazali

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Banda Khuda ka Jul 30, 2014 08:56pm

@UnshacklePakistan In this world there are worse and there are better too. Who is better. the one who is powerful and by virtue of power of power rules and governs the worse one like these helpless miners. Just because they are poor and have no say in the formulation of law and policy and they have no say in the enforcement of policies taking due care of them. the most despicable exploitative governing apparatus exploits them with heartless, unjust and grossly unfair approach which is against the very basic and rudimentary principles of Islam. It must be brought to an end by right thinking and pious Pakistanis. O God give them heart big enough to bear with this utter unfairness and give some semblance of wisdom to the elites to realize their unpardonable mistakes.

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Imran Jul 30, 2014 08:59pm

@UnshacklePakistan Your words weigh more than 300 pounds of neoliberal free market trickle down economic sh*t!

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Adeeb Jul 30, 2014 09:00pm

@DMDiL What seriously!!! you guys need to wake up and see the world around you, the ground realities are bitter and harsh.

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Saraz Jul 30, 2014 09:01pm

Ben Hur!

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Imran Jul 30, 2014 09:11pm

These conditions are already result of so called "Free Market" Economics (Yes! You are free to exploit and plunder) These workers work under "Thekedari" system as per the rules of "Business Competence" and self proclaimed Adam Smiths here are proposing to pour more gasoline on fire to put it out. Turkey being portrayed here as a "miracle" of privatization tells the opposite story. Working conditions in mining districts like Soma have deteriorated after privatization. Look at the recent accident at Soma caused by faulty/substandard equipment (they call it "Cost Cutting") which killed more than 300 miners.

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Mac Engr Jul 30, 2014 09:55pm

Only Pathan can manage this!

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UnshacklePakistan Jul 30, 2014 10:33pm

@Imran There is a difference between "free-market" and "crony capitalism". Crony capitalism is what we have right now, where big government controls and artificially favors businesses, turning them into cartels. Remove those barrier to trade and see how the prices drop and the masses benefit. All this semi-socialist mentality of Pakistan has left is limping despite its resources.

There is an erroneous belief that it's knowledge that is lacking in Pakistan. In this information age, knowledge isn't a problem, if it ever was even in the past. The real problem is capital accumulation (factories, buildings, technology). Capital can only be accumulated by savings. With lower interest rates, and the printing of money, massive reductions in purchasing power are a result. These factors discourage those who save, and encourage consumption. While there's nothing wrong with consumption, the consumption just to get rid of the currency which keeps depreciating leads to an erosion of the fabric of society. It leads to the kind of corruption we are seeing in Pakistan. Notice any country with high inflation and you're likely to see higher level of corruption. Equating this with culture isn't correct as the monetary intervention has lead to the people living in Pakistan to become corrupt.

In other words with eroding purchasing power, corruption is the only way left to survive and it's not the fault of the people. Sooner or later the non-corrupt become so poor that there's nothing they can do to live with dignity and are forced into doing something unlawful. The problems of Pakistan are not of people but of the control of government over the free-market. Where did in Islam there were restrictions placed on a person to freely trade and engage in commerce?

I believe in classical liberalism which or complete laissez-faire society, and not a government owned socialist purgatory which has not gotten us anywhere in the past 67 years.

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buzz Jul 30, 2014 10:46pm

May God bless and keep these men. Working hard hours in dangerous conditions to provide for their families. The honest $2 they make a day will yeild them a far far better reward in the hereafter than the ill-gotten $2000 the ruling class makes.

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Imran Jul 30, 2014 11:15pm

@UnshacklePakistan You can believe whatever flavor of capitalism you like as par your taste and class interests. BTW don't teach me the difference b/w "crony capitalism" and mumbo jumbo "real & efficient" free market which only exists in the brains of bourgeoisie economists and which will solve everything by the magic of invisible hand in the "long run". By the very picture displayed to left of my post you can have an idea who you are talking to. Capitalism, in its every shape and model, is historically obsolete system. There is no solution to the Over Capacity built into the system on global scale. Unemployment is structural, slump is permanent (economists like Paul Krugman are admitting it now), imperialist monopolies are taking over everything, states are being robbed by bankers, industrial capital is being dominated by the speculation of finance capital, debt is getting out of control and first world is being converted into third world. All this is happening while you are delivering lecture on the miraculous free market over here. Third world countries like Pakistan are really "landa bazar" of philosophies and theories. You believe capitalist mode of production to be the last stage of social development. I don't.

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Malik Achakzai Jul 30, 2014 11:16pm

They say unemployment ratio is greater in Punjab then why these Pashtun are busy digging out coal, the most dangerous work for 2.5 US $ a day. These Pashtuns from Khyber Pashtunkhwa are spread around the country and working as human ants taking out thousands of tons coal from the deeper grounds. Pashtun, one of the biggest nations who live as in foreign to have bread for their families. Pakistan should let these people have control of their natural resources. No one from their land will leave their homes for such digging in Punjab and Balochistan.

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Asif Malik Jul 30, 2014 11:39pm

This is what happens when you vote for people who give you laptops and buses.

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UnshacklePakistan Jul 30, 2014 11:59pm

@Imran Paul Krugman is the biggest interventionist and opportunist. His biggest mistake was the start writing at the new york times blog. There are so many who have realized his theories change with the change in government. His blog can be easily searched and really I don't even want to talk about this guy who is such a sham, despite his Nobel prize.

You are again using the current state of developed countries to capitalism. If you are so eager about socialist tendencies, try telling me why Abba Lerner and Orkar Lange hand trouble with the socialist calculation debate? You have so rightly claimed that pure capitalism is the brainchild of theoretical economists, and you are right. But what you are failing to mention is that socialism even in theory doesn't work! If you are making the resources owned by the government, who is going to be in charge of the government? Have you forgotten already Mao, Stalin, Lenin, and other comrades? The combined death toll of socialist system is exceedingly beyond anything the world has ever seen. The German Nazi party was national socialist if you have forgotten.

You are just like those other socialists you talk about equality but what they really mean is that the person producing more will be squeezed until dead. You talk about over capacity, but fail to realize it's because of the government intervention that there is over capacity. Had government not promoted and artificially propped up failing enterprises the smaller businesses when there were not selling their products would have vanished. You talk about developed countries now beginning to lose their developed status due to debt, and yet you fail to realize that the debt is taken by the government itself. You talk about recessions after recessions in the developed countries, yet you fail to see that the central banks are causing those (this you had rightly pointed out).

Adam Smith wasn't bad, but where do you think, Karl Marx got his ideas from? They are from the same Adam Smith's 'labor theory of value'. The idea that a person just worked hard and that determines the prices and cost is just plain wrong. It has lead to this contorted view of the world where the hard work of the person determines what the person should get in terms of price instead of whether something valuable was done. Freedom to choose and to have a private contract with someone is what makes us free. A socialist would decide for you what you 'should' do irrespective of your own desire

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mubashar Jul 31, 2014 12:07am

b positive...these people work hard to earn a honest living...play cricket offer prayers...yes the big fish earns alot but atleast it shows a positive side of pakistan..and we shud portray this more....not just mullaism and militancy... i wud commend reuters for doing a fine job...

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Imran Jul 31, 2014 12:53am

@UnshacklePakistan So called Socialist Calculation Problem was a childish allegation and was well answered by Soviet Planners and Marxist Theoreticians more than 90 years ago. This is quite and interesting debate however and you should read the other side as well. As far as your rhetoric like "Failure of Socialism", "State gonna decide for you" and "hard working people are doomed" is concerned, they simply show the lack of understanding of very basic concept of Socialism, historical facts, familiarity with Marxist Theory and intellectual dishonesty. And your declaration that German Fascism (National Socialism) was "Socialism" have discredited your arguments even further. Anyone having a slightest knowledge of history and economy can only laugh at it. I don't want to waste my energies and time by going into this unending debate, nor this is an appropriate platform. You seem to be quite an "experienced" person and most probably would be familiar with the outcome of these kind of debates.

Crisis of over production are inherent into the very structure of capitalism. Monetary policy represents the dynamics of an economic system and is a method of running the system, it is not the system in itself. There were recessions, depressions (at least two) and crisis even before modern monetary mechanisms. Economies were more unstable before Central Banks and Austrian School of Economic is a "school" which serious bourgeoisie economists don't take seriously themselves. Had states not increased money supply (through lower interest rates, public spending etc) there would have been a "2008" many decades ago. States are not responsible for the built in Over Capacity. This is the result of delaying the crisis by artificial means as par the 'suggestion' (rather orders) of the same representatives of ruling class who now are blaming monetary policies for everything while pocketing billions of dollars through state bailouts at the same time. What we are witnessing today is the outcome of very organic contradictions of capitalist mode of production.

Marx borrowed many concepts from classical bourgeoisie economists and developed them further. Adam's "Labor Theory of Value" is not same as "Marx's Theory of Value". "Socially Necessary Labor Time" is what makes them quite different. BTW running away from Labor Theory towards so called circular reasoning of "Marginal-ism" is another example which shows the total bankruptcy of Neo Liberal Economics.

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UnshacklePakistan Jul 31, 2014 01:46am

@Imran This is the first time you have answered properly, so I'll do the same. I need to find a way to stay awake though at this hour. Stay tuned.

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Pak Rat Jul 31, 2014 02:39am

So Sad ,RIP

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chamari Jul 31, 2014 02:40am

Reason for creation of mankind by Anunaki to mine .

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chamari Jul 31, 2014 02:40am

Poor donkeys.

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Pak Rat Jul 31, 2014 02:40am

This could be big.

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Harmony Jul 31, 2014 03:57am

@Imran - "debt is getting out of control and first world is being converted into third world". You are painting a very bleak picture here. The banking crisis could have made it worse but that's history now. They have managed the disaster well.

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Imran Jul 31, 2014 03:58am

@UnshacklePakistan Take it easy dude. Sleep is good for health & wealth as wise men would say. :)

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Imran Jul 31, 2014 04:01am

@Harmony Picture is already bleak, I am just showing it to you. They have only delayed a meltdown even further as they were doing before 2008. Austerity would further shrink the market and make the problem worse in the long run. They die both way. Wait & Watch!

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M.MIRZA Jul 31, 2014 04:43am

sir,

please give them good pay, benefits, pension for them and their families.

God bless all of us.

this should be seen by some body from islamabad.

m.irza

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aadil Jul 31, 2014 05:09am

and you thought you had a hard day at work!

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khan Jul 31, 2014 05:18am

Shame on the government and authorities for treating their citizens in such a horrible way. Its a crystal true picture of poor people abused by their government who don't have any concern for the people. At least I can say that the western governments treat their citizens in a justified way and pay the right amount of money for their work. Pakistan's condition will only be changed when the justice will prevail in its true form in Pakistan.

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UnshacklePakistan Jul 31, 2014 05:37am

@Imran Sleep is not easy when socialist propaganda machine is in operational mode.

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azhar awan Jul 31, 2014 05:41am

This is truly reflects why we are facing so much instability in the motherland- poverty and inhumane condition of those workers tells us how Pakistani society developed over the years. Please post places photos of Nawaz and Zardari. How they become so rich and at the expense of our nation.

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SSK Jul 31, 2014 06:36am

On the bright side I feel proud of them working hard to make their ends meet rather than becoming a bad citizen.

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Igloo Jul 31, 2014 08:18am

@Khayyam Yes all Pakistanis should feel shame at the slave wages paid to these workers. At the same time, we should acknowledge the foolishness of calls for a TQ revolution. Half an education and a bit of history should open anyone's eyes. Political upheaval will do very little if anything to resolve this kind of injustice. I doubt anyone in Pakistan thinks that Imran Khan is corrupt or a religious fanatic like many in the clerical class. Yet politically active people vote for the corrupt time and again - always using some pathetic excuse or other. Whatever Musharraf's mistakes nobody accuses him of corruption yet he would never have won an election.

Any cleric calling for a revolution is to be feared, especially if clerics will have any role other than an advisory or tightly controlled judicial role Unfortunately they are too obsessed with social control as opposed to feeding the people and encouraging good ethics and morality in a atmosphere free of oppression. And unfortunately their obsession with social control doesn't do anything to protect the most vulnerable from physical harm.

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noorilhuda Jul 31, 2014 10:24am

Gorgeous informative pics on a tough life.

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marwat Jul 31, 2014 11:44am

Most of these coli miner belong to district lakki marwat, karak and tank. of KPK.

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Kashif Chaudhry Jul 31, 2014 11:45am

These pictures give me the shrills, at one point I salute the bravery of working in such conditions at another point I deplore the inhumane conditions and child labor. We can't understand their side of the story, why work ? I believe to support their families and that is the only way they can do it. So let it be as it be.

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pranlal sheth Jul 31, 2014 12:18pm

I have been a miner and mining engineer during 1948-52 (worked as such). I saw the pictures of miners life. It is highly pathetic that such life of miners exist. Government should act immediately to rectify and bring the life of miners livable compared to civilian public.

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Maham Sohail Jul 31, 2014 12:24pm

@Rogers Evans That's the best idea i've ever heard!

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Amir khan Jul 31, 2014 01:24pm

@Khayyam tell your tq to stop travelling business class first

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Harmony Jul 31, 2014 02:11pm

@Imran - The picture that you are showing me is your interpretation (which is wrong). The days of subprime mortgages and complicated mortgage-related financial products that caused the financial crisis are long gone. Lending criteria is now ever so difficult.

The doom and gloom picture that you paint is long gone. IMF forecast for global economic growth this year is 3.4% and 4% for 2015 - decent rates in global terms. Russia and China have already shed the communist image that you espouse. What can never change is world reliance of 'capital goods' from Western economies which is the driver of their growth. The only likely competitor is China. And when it starts producing capital goods of the same quality as US and Western Europe, it will be integrated as a Western economy like it happened with Japan.

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Moon Jul 31, 2014 02:13pm

shame on Punjab Gov.

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Nabeel Jul 31, 2014 02:50pm

@M.MIRZA Before good pay and benefits they need security. Mines must be lit properly, there must be wide pathways so workers can pass through easily. Fan and heater system is also important. Above all, worker must be equipped with latest Mining technology as far as security is concerned. This is not must costly, we can contribute our donations for these workers. We know that Govt. will oversee all this as it has been proven in past.

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n b Jul 31, 2014 03:29pm

It is very good article. I have worked in underground coal mine. The photos remind me of that experience. I have advice to city dwellers who enjoy electricity to remember these people. Today many low depth mines are better as these have been converted to open cast. But high depth mines still have similar condition, in all countries. Death can come swiftly with any accident in these mines. The mine workers have to rely only on science and technology, not on God.

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Mohammed Hanif Jul 31, 2014 04:18pm

Come on people. Comments below make it look as if some of you have been living on a different planet. These are the harsh conditions some people in Pakistan work everyday.and in other countries as well.

Until we break the Wadheira, Jageerdhar system left over from colonialism we cannot make progress. But how many of use would complain at the price of bricks if we paid them a decent day's pay? None of us

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Human Jul 31, 2014 04:37pm

10$ share by 4 for 1 day of work, that's 250Rs each day per person... that is harsh, cruel ....

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shah shah ji Jul 31, 2014 05:35pm

How sad!

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UnshacklePakistan Jul 31, 2014 06:21pm

Response Part1: @Imran Socialist Calculation Problem: Prices cannot exist without private property. Without private property, it would be like a person having two grapes in their left hand, a dollar in their right hand, and then calling a movement of the two grapes to their right hand and the dollar to their left hand an example of a price being revealed. Prices require the grapes and dollar to be owned by two separate parties. Calling the ruble denominations of means of production in a socialist economy

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UnshacklePakistan Jul 31, 2014 06:34pm

@Harmony You are in for a huge shock if you believe the world economies and especially the western economies are out of the doldrums. Wait a year so two and see how things start to unravel. When you operate from a faulty theoretical construct the predictions also get totally out of whack. IMF is full of a bunch of interventionist economists extolling the virtues of taxing more and government intervention of the highest order. None of these have the slightest clue as to what's in store. We're going to have a massive problem at our hands the moment the central banks step back, or even if they don't. The massive credit expansion and rise in real estate and sovereign debt is not going way just because someone sings a lullaby.

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Seedoo Jul 31, 2014 06:53pm

If this is the condition of the coal miners on a daily basis, I am sure that nothing has been done to mitigate the risk to human life in case of a disaster, which is not uncommon in coal mines. Capitalism is not the reason for this, it is the absence of government regulations or its enforcement coupled with the absence or complete lack of competition. There are only two reasons why a business would offer good working condition to its employees: a) Proper enforcement of regulation, and b) Competition (businesses competing for labor in the market). Both are absolutely necessary to ensure clean and safe working environment for workers.

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Tariq Amir Jul 31, 2014 08:07pm

@Khayyam And what Qadri will do about it?

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Harmony Aug 01, 2014 01:04am

@UnshacklePakistan - People have been saying

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Hassan Aftab Bachani Aug 01, 2014 03:09am

So ironic that the same people criticizing the abstract Government forces over the conditions of these people force their maids to work without gloves and that too at terrible wages. My heart goes out to these people. If you want to truly help them, commit to paying fairer wages and good tips to any worker you encounter who earns his fill...

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UnshacklePakistan Aug 01, 2014 05:53am

@Harmony How did you come to the conclusion that I am not with capitalism? I only stated I don't like government intervention? Just because there's a central bank doesn't mean it's party of a capitalist society. It's just what it has been made to believe. Even the earlier US presidents dissolved the central banks two times I believe fearing it will become powerful. My opposition to it doesn't mean I don't believe giving people the ability to make up their own mind is not right. I don't have any problem if a group wants to live in a socialist society as long as others are not forced to live there.

As for your comments regarding the time and the crash never arriving after 2008. Yes, you are right. The timing for anyone with some sense is not something that easily deciphered. The only fact is that eventually it will come. Can the Fed and other central banks reflate again? Yes, I believe they can but it most likely will weaken the developed nations even more. From what I can tell you are enamored too much by the standard economic data which somehow shows some GDP growth. GDP growth is a very weak measure to judge much as USSR had pretty high GDP growth fooling economist into believing they were thriving. The capitalist countries on the other hand were moving towards computers and other technological advances and the USSR GDP hid that information.

Your skepticism is justified as to the delay. What is not justified is not taking precautionary measures. Even in my trading I am shorting much and sticking with positions that are long oriented. The shorts usually have given me more pain than was worth the trouble. Nonetheless, a whole set of new investors and traders have forgotten what happens when prices start falling. I fear for those who'll soon be facing a market drop who have only seen constant large rises by the markets. It may not be as big due to government's intervention but I think the pain is still going to crack some skulls. Market has a way to ensure that the majority lose money, and it has become too obvious that the long is the way to go. When that happens the dark clouds start looming.

In my opinion we can talk about the theoretical aspects of economics all we want, but the true test of one's judgement and nerves comes by how much one's account grows no matter the external conditions. I hope one day I can find the courage to help people with trading and speculating in addition to discussing philosophy about when the crash might come.

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Hassan Aug 01, 2014 07:30am

Great pictures, telling their real story.

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SB Aug 01, 2014 07:29pm

DMDIL It's you, me and us forcing them to work. We are happy in our own world. Let's see what we can do about it

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M. Siddique Aug 01, 2014 09:12pm

I used to work in coal mines 40 plus years ago. Shocked to see that conditions have even deteriorated further instead of improving. Inspectorate of mines needs to take a tough role in this. CM should take lead in it.

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Indus Aug 01, 2014 11:00pm

@Imran it is not free market it is bankruptcy of governce. We have similar conditions in India

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Imran Aug 02, 2014 12:06am

At least two of my comments have not been published? Can I know the reason?

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Harmony Aug 02, 2014 02:26am

@Imran - because of the red star, hammer and sickle...get it -)

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Mainakhan Aug 02, 2014 09:13am

really they are the one should be honored with scholarships instead of Malala yousafzai

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Mainakhan Aug 02, 2014 09:26am

one should write an epic on their living style..good effort,how beautifully it is exposed here,loving it :)

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Harmony Aug 02, 2014 04:16pm

@Mainakhan - Was it necessary to compare and confuse it with Malala?

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Mainakhan Aug 02, 2014 06:12pm

@Harmony nope,i just read both articles together and commented what i felt!

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Shahid Aug 03, 2014 08:23am

The journalist who worked this- is absolutely world class

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joe blackman Aug 04, 2014 01:01am

@UnshacklePakistan these people look happy to me, they are doing what they have been doing for centuries there will only be problems if govt. steps in and tries to "help" these people. then they will be miserable

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Nadeem Ahmed Aug 04, 2014 10:40am

Well, we all the state of affairs of our country; instead of passing commercial lamenting comments and superficial kind words, it is time that did our part, let somebody set up a system where these hard-earners get to get the whatever tiny pay per day even when they are not able to work, for sickness or whatever, and for the time when they can not go on further, that is, the old age benefits which they deserve more than any of us; and also arrange for the schooling of their kids. We need to look farther into future, and help ourselves. Nadeem.

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PK sahoo Aug 04, 2014 01:58pm

I am from India, but my heart burnt when I seen these pics.. kudos to the journalist.. who got them some notice. At least you, me and we could see and realize that people can still smile in such situation.. that makes us feel encouraged to do fight for mankind.. fight for humanity and fight for ourselves as well. I appeal to all journalists and readers as well instead of making such big "ho ha" on Bollywood,Hollywood or whatever wood.. please highlight issues like this ..at least get their pain, situation noticed by people. "duniya main kitna gum hey..mera gum kitna kam hey"

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