More strike action in Baluchistan: Latest update on arrested trade unionists

This is an update on the situation in Quetta. The leaders of the civil servants' strike are still in jail, and more layers of workers are moving into struggle. The international solidarity campaign launched by the PTUDC must continue. To find out how you can help, please see the website of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign.

The militant mood of the working class has once again pressurised the traditional leadership into coming out in favour of the movement. Today the Workers' Action Committee announced during a press conference that they are going to start strike action once again. Although they pointed out that they are going to start a 24-hour hunger strike from May 23 and it would become a complete hunger strike till death unless their demands are met. They did not announce the date of the hunger strike till death nor their other strategies till now. In this press conference the BLF leadership showed their deep concerns at the role of Pakistan Workers' Confederation and criticised them.

While on the other hand the GTA (Government Teachers' Association) started their long march towards the governor's house as they had announced earlier. The position of this march was very weak and there is news that about fifty teachers have been arrested from different part of Baluchistan. Heavy police forces were deployed in Quetta to counter any type of demonstrations.

In Baluchistan the transport workers have also been on strike for the last three days. Their main demands are: increase security and stop dacoits [robbers] on the highways, and end all checkpoints of the different law enforcement agencies. In all these events the Quetta administration implemented section 144 and also prohibited all kinds of leaflets and posters.

The PTUDC in Quetta is carefully following all these volatile events, especially the decision to come out on strike again, to see if they can revitalise the movement and we will plan our strategy accordingly. We will keep our supporters updated on the events as they develop.

Today we visited comrade Hameed Khan whose morale was very high. He sends a red salute to all our comrades in Pakistan and around the world. We are making every effort to get the comrades out on bail. But there is no guarantee that this will be granted. So keep up the pressure with the solidarity campaign.

Abid Hussain,
Information Secretary,
PTUDC Quetta