SHANGLA: The coal mine workers called off their hunger strike outside Alpuri Press Club here on Friday evening after an assurance from information minister Shaukat Yousafzai that their demands would be accepted and legislation would be made within two months as the process for amendments in the labour laws was underway.

“The legislation for coal miners’ rights and safety will be made in the next session because the amendment in the law is essential,” Mr Yousafzai told the protesters by phone. He said that it was legal right of the coal miners, as unfortunately about 70 per cent of the miners hailed from Shangla and the district had been receiving bodies of miners every year.

Later, the minister sent a PTI delegation, including Waqar Ahmed Khan and Liaquat Yousafzai, and DPO Syed Rasool Shah to talk to the protesters.

Yousafzai says legislation for miners’ safety in two months

The delegation delivered the government’s message to the protesters and requested them to call off their strike for two months and in this duration the relevant legislation would be made.

The delegation assured the protesters that their nine-point demands would be accepted, particularly to implement safety laws at workplaces of coal miners, to protect the lives of coal cutters.

Ali Bhash Khan¸ a participant of the strike told this scribe, that they had called off the strike for two months after the minister assured them that legislation would be made in the next session.

“I hope the government will do the legislation for the coal mine workers’ rights and safety. If it failed in fulfilling the promise we will again go on strike,” he added.

Said Abid Yar, a protester, said that they wanted registration of every labour working inside or outside the mines in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the Punjab government had already done the registration.

Provision of safety equipment to miners and compensation to the injured workers like given in other provinces should be ensured in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Meanwhile, heavy rain lashed parts of Shangla district on Friday, increasing water flow in the rivers and streams.

The rain also caused suspension of power supply in most parts of the district.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2019

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