Locals stage a protest in Bely Baba, Shangla, against mine owner. — Dawn
Locals stage a protest in Bely Baba, Shangla, against mine owner. — Dawn

SHANGLA: Residents of Ghorband blocked Bisham-Swat road in protest against the coal mine owners and management while receiving bodies of nine labourers who died in Darra Adamkhel mine explosion on Wednesday.

The protest was called by coal mine workers rights activists here at Bely Baba on Wednesday night.

When the bodies of ill-fated miners arrived in ambulances the mourners blocked the Bisham-Swat road in protest.

MPA Yousafzai pledges legislation for miners’ safety

MNA Dr Ibadullah, MPA Shaukat Ali Yousafzai and leaders of various political parties were also present on the occasion.

Ali Bhash Khan, an activist, said that he had got tired of receiving bodies from the coal mines. He said that ages of majority of miners were between 15 to 30 years who worked as coal-cutters in the mines.

“Coalmining is a difficult and risky job worldwide, but a little bit secure in foreign countries. In Pakistan, it is the worst job taking lives of young people as no steps are taken for safety of workers at the workplaces. Mine inspectors don’t perform their duty and receive salaries in their houses,” he said.

Abid Yar, coalmine workers rights activist, said that legislation was needed for the safety and rights of workers as their widows often faced difficulties by visiting revenue offices many times for receiving compensation.

MPA Shaukat Ali Yousafzai said on the occasion that he would resign if they failed in making a law for coal miners’ safety and rights.

“We have got tired of receiving bodies of Shangla men and will no more allow anyone to play with human lives in the name of coalmining. Contractors, mine owners and inspectors are responsible for these incidents,” Mr Yousafzai said.

He also urged the local contractors to refrain from taking youth from Shangla to coal mines as it was a violation of child labour laws.

Later, the protesters dispersed peacefully after assurance of legislation by Mr Yousafzai. The deceased included two brothers Umar Mohammad and Qadeem Gul, their nephew Farman Shakir, Hazrat Wali, Farman Ali, Umar Hassan, Wazeerullah, Khalilullah and Nizar Ahmed. They all belonged to Pagorai village of Alpuri tehsil and were relatives.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2018