Stories about workers

Why is it acceptable for Indian companies to abuse Indian migrants in the Middle East?

In the southern coastal belt of India and the Malabar side, there has been an obsession among youngsters to flock to the Middle East for a better livelihood. The trend embarked in the late 60s, as a result of the oil boom in most parts of the Arab gulf region. With a shortage of labour force at home, the requirement for semi-skilled and highly-skilled labour from third world countries elevated and thus began the influx of thousands of workers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Initially, in the early 70s, Kuwait and Bahrain attracted huge labour force as massive oil extraction ...

Read Full Post

Majaz Lakhnawi to the labourers: ‘The day we rebel, Judgement Day will compel’

The Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has announced that a first-ever labour policy for the province would be announced today, on the occasion of International Labour Day. This is welcome news from the incumbent chief minister, known to publicly recite from the popular poets and bard of the Pakistani working class, Habib Jalib in his more distracted moments. While the national government has yet to announce a more conciliatory policy for the hardworking workers of the country, the chief minister might also be interested in another progressive intervention on behalf of the workers from our not-too-distant past, the ...

Read Full Post

PTI, stampeding its way to democracy?

Imran Khan’s Multan rally, in which seven people died and more than a 100 were left wounded, has Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf hopping mad, as expected. Not only has the party suffered a blow of embarrassment in front of their workers, the incident has also provided the media with enough ammo to criticise the party for their faulty arrangements and planning. The government, apologetic as expected, has immediately put together another one of its bootless, good-for-nothing committees to conduct a more or less useless ‘probe’ into the matter. However, if one just views the situation objectively, despite the culpable reasons such as ...

Read Full Post

Tip me or do it yourself!

“Tip tip karta main kamray main ata hun, ayenge mehman tip de jayeinge.” (I enter the room repeating my ‘tip tip’ chorus; the guests will show up and tip me before leaving.) I still cannot forget this eminent dialogue from Guest House, an old PTV drama from the 90s. The waiter and staff in the drama used to get tips from guests upon serving them. They did not consider it their prerogative to get the tip; it was requested and only given when the guest felt gratified with the work of the staff. The staff, however, would never get annoyed when gratuity was not given. This phenomenon was being ...

Read Full Post

Déjà vu: The workers died due to suffocation

‘The workers died due to suffocation’ – this is not the first time we have heard news like this. The first time we heard it was back in 2012. Two years ago, on September 11, 2012, when the garment factory caught fire claiming 259 lives and injuring 140. They called for help, screamed and shouted in agony but all in vain. The rescue forces didn’t get there in time. There were no fire escapes, fire retardants or safety measures. The doors were locked and the only unlocked door was on fire. One might think that they could have used the windows to escape instead ...

Read Full Post

Oh great government of Pakistan, take notice of the female aid workers in Balochistan, don’t alienate them!

On my recent trip to Balochistan, I came across examples of how women folk fare in tribal set-ups. While we, in the urban centres, believe that women are usually ignored and not allowed to contribute to society in tribal arrangements, the Baloch tradition has a very unique way of putting their women to good use. Tribal feuds and enmities usually span over generations. So when all else fails, the hidden asset – the women – is consumed. The women of the tribe seeking to reconcile are sent to the other tribe. These women then beg for forgiveness for the men folk of ...

Read Full Post

Dear elites: Your servants have rights, treat them like humans

As a result of my ancestors having achieved affluence, my early childhood years were relatively privileged – spent in an expansive house in Peshawar with my siblings, pets, pomp and delusions of grandeur. We had many servants – someone to cook the meals, someone to bring the dishes to the table, someone to drive and maintain the cars, someone to wash the clothes, someone to sweep the floors, someone to feed the dogs, someone to trim the hedges and someone to guard the gate; all of whom collectively pandered to the nauseating imperial sensibilities that dominated the lifestyle of the rich. Having the ...

Read Full Post

Bilawal, moulding the future politics of Pakistan: A PPP Jiyala’s analysis

By a curious exercise of logic some disgruntled man of yesterday used to have the temerity to question us that how a 19 years old Bilawal Bhutto Zardari may become the chairman? How a boy who lived his most of life in Dubai & United Kingdom may lead a party whose most of the workers are from the downtrodden class of Pakistan? How a Bilawal Bhutto Zardari may claim to be representative of the masses as he lacks command over speaking Urdu & neither he knows about the customs, traditions & taboos of a Pakistani society? These have been the ...

Read Full Post

Dubai: Look beyond the glitter to see the sorrow of migrant workers

Dubai has undergone a massive transformation, from a fishing and pearl diving centre on the shores of the gulf, to an ultra-modern city-state of today in a matter of just a few decades. Modern Dubai is a cosmopolitan society with a wide range of attractions. Its architecture is entering the realms of impossible construction and the sort of life of great opulence and grandeur it offers seems almost unrivaled. Dubai wished to undertake extremely interesting and intriguing projects in the past couple of years: Dubai Land – a vast landscape of leisure; Hydropolis – an underwater hotel; The Cloud – a city built ...

Read Full Post

My party, PPP, lost because it forgot about the people

One factor which always made me proud to be a part of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was the its representation in each and every nook and cranny of Pakistan. However on May 11, the people’s verdict not only wiped out PPP from three provinces, but also clearly rejected our manifesto and our welfare programmes. PPP’s defeat is not merely a defeat of the party but a defeat of an ideology; it’s the defeat of roti, kapra aur makaan and of the policies we have been carrying since 2008. It’s a defeat of the downtrodden class as still it’s the only ...

Read Full Post