Video blog: City of the oppressed

Published: August 20, 2011

While crossing the ugly, narrow streets you will find countless small, wooden doors, almost on every wall. They are mostly locked from the outside, but you can hear a continuous, disturbing noise echoing from these rooms.

This haunting noise is the outcome of those power looms that run with the sweat and blood of tens of thousands of workers. If you dare to enter any of the small rooms, you would feel as though you have entered a machine. The walls say it all; they are full of cotton dust and silk web, causing dangerous lung diseases amongst the majority of people who work here. Welcome to Faisalabad, Pakistan’s largest industrial city, with no basic human rights for workers.

This is probably the city with the highest ratio of child labour in Pakistan. Saif-ud-din has been working for 50 years in the power loom industry and he is now in his 60s. He works for 14-16 hours every day, and earns hardly a rupee over 300. He lives in a house that is 75 square meters and he shares this meager space with a family of twenty people. Sadly, however, this is the story of every other house in the industrial areas of Faisalabad, where the vicious circle of exploitation begins at an early age and it continues till death.

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Ammar Aziz

An independent filmmaker and political activist who teaches film theory at NCA. He blogs at and tweets at @ammar_aziz

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