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> PILDAT/ Solidarity Center organized Briefing to Parliamentarians on Labour Issues
PILDAT/ Solidarity Center organized Briefing to Parliamentarians on Labour Issues
September 19,2005
Best Western Hotel, Islamabad

In the News

PILDAT, in collaboration with the Solidarity Center, arranged a Briefing Session for members of the Pakistan Senate and the National Assembly on Monday, September 19, 2005 at Best Western Hotel. Briefing was given by the Federal Minister for Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Khan, MNA; Director of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and former Chief Economist of Pakistan, Dr. A. R. Kamal; Chairman of Workers and Employers Bilateral Corporation of Pakistan (WEBCOP), Mr. Ehsan Ullah Khan; Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis and Deputy Secretary General of Pakistan Workers Federation (A newly amalgamated workers union of Pakistan’s three largest trade unions which now collectively represent 73 % of the total organized labour of Pakistan), Mr. Zahoor Awan. Senator Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli, Federal Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting and Mr. Greg Schulze, representative of the Solidarity Centre also spoke on the occasion while Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director PILDAT conducted the session. The briefing that was scheduled to last for 3 hours continued for over 4 hours due to the keen interest evinced by the parliamentarians in the briefing. A lively Question/Answer session followed the briefings. The main thrust of the briefings was to identify major labour issues in Pakistan and to list the needs for legislative action to be taken by parliamentarians. Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, in his open, frank and informed briefing admitted shortcomings in the system and sought fellow parliamentarians’ cooperation and proposals to address these shortcomings. He said the Rs. 29 Billion are lying unutilized in the Workers Welfare Fund while the government is seeking good proposals to spend this money on workers welfare. The Minister also said that the provincial governments are not very responsive when his ministry seeks proposals from them or when it seeks explanation for not being able to spend about 50 % of the allocated funds. A.R. Kamal presented an overview of the current Labour Policy, State of Labour, Employment and Poverty in Pakistan. He stressed that the Bureau of Statistics should be given complete autonomy to report its findings freely to public without the interference of any Ministry. Mr. Kamal pleaded for a consensus between the Government and Opposition on long-term Economic Policies of the country to inspire confidence among potential foreign investors in the larger interest of Pakistan. Mr. Ahsan Akhtar Malik presented the Government view on the Labour Issues and listed the actions Government is taking to address these issues. Mr. Ehsan Ullah Khan introduced WEBCOP and said that this forum was the first of its kind in the whole of Asia and it has presented concrete proposals and recommendations on the Minimum Wages. He called for a comprehensive Industrial Relations Policy and expressed regret at the recent withdrawal of subsidy given to Skill Development Councils in the provinces. . Mr. Zahoor Awan highlighted the large segment of the labour force in the informal sector that is outside the ambit of organized labour and therefore not the beneficiary of labour legislations.


The participants included Senator S. M. Zafar (PML), Senator Nighat Agha (PML), Senator Roshan Khursheed Bharucha (PML),Gul-e-Farkhanda (MNA, PML), Mehnaz Raffi (MNA, PML), Fauzia Fakhar uz Zaman (MNA, PML), Kunwar Khalid Yunus (MNA, MQM), Shabir Ahmed Khan (MNA, MMA), Muhammad Hussain Mehanti (MNA, MMA), Kaneez Aisha Munawar (MNA, MMA), Jamila Ahmed (MNA, MMA), Abdul Rauf Mengal (MNA, BNPM), Shamim Akhtar (MNA, MQM), Afsar Begum (MNA, MQM), Samina Khalid Ghurki (MNA, PPPP), Yasmeen Rehman (MNA, PPPP), Khalid Iqbal Memon (MNA, PPPP), and Qari Abdul Bais Siddiqui (MNA, MMA).









(From left to right) Senator Anisa Zeb Tahirkhali, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Federal Minister for Labour, Manpower & Overseas Pakistanis


(From left to right) Mr. Greg Schulze, Mr. Ehsan ullah Khan, Senator Anisa Zeb Tahirkhali, Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Mr. Ahsan Akhtar Malik, Mr. Zahoor Awan


(From left to right) Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Dr. A. R. Kamal


Participants at the Dialogue


Female Parliamentarians in the Session


Male Parliamentarians in the Session