All Pakistan Trade Union Federation Vice-General Secretary Released

Posted December 3, 2007

Pakistan Update!

The All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF) announces that its vice-General Secretary, Farid Awan, was recently freed

Through a phone communiqué with the headquarters of the ILC, the leaders of the Pakistani trade union federation, on the morning of November 26, informed us that Awan had been freed – but that the charges leveled against him in the framework of the state of emergency were not dropped.

Hundreds of trade union activists remain in prison. The APTUF asked the ILC to make known its thanks to all those, throughout the world, who mobilized to demand the liberation of Farid Awan.

In only a few days, hundreds of messages from trade unions and activists from all continents (Afghanistan, Germany, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Spain, the United States, France, Gabon, Great Britain, Guadeloupe, India, Iraq, Italy, Philippines, Republic of Maurice, Senegal, Switzerland, Sri Lanka) were sent to the Pakistani authorities. Delegations were organized to embassies in Paris and Madrid.

The APTUF also informed us that, in the difficult situation created by the state of emergency and the wave of repression, the workers’ movement has not given up.

On November 14, on the initiative of the APTUF, gatherings and meetings took place in the factories or at their entrances and in the industrial centers of the country, “demanding the release of the trade union activists, judges, and lawyers who have been imprisoned; the end to all limits on trade union activity; and the reestablishment of the freedom of expression.”

At the same time, the workers’ movement looks to unite. In response to a proposal by the APTUF, the Pakistan Workers’ Confederation, which regroups in a united front several trade union organizations, met and wrote a common declaration. It states, in part: “The trade unions proclaim together: the workers’ movement wants democracy. They launch an independent appeal to defend workers’ rights and to defend the country against any foreign intervention. The Pakistani people have the right to determine their own future. The workers should have the right to freely organize into their own organizations.”

The APTUF calls on everybody to continue in all countries the campaign for the release of all the imprisoned activists.