LAHORE - International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day, will be celebrated all over the world including Pakistan today to pay homage to the sacrifices made in Chicago, USA, (Haymarket Square) in 1886 by thousands of labourers for the protection of their rights.

There will be public holiday in the country on the day like many parts of world. Labour unions and workers’ wing of political parties have planned rallies, seminars and public meetings to highlight the issues and problems of working class at workplaces.

PTI chairman Imran Khan said the observance of the international Labour Day was an occasion to pay homage to the workers and wage earners as well as to renew pledge to defend the dignity and ensure decent living to the workers of the country. He said his party will continue struggle to secure the rightful place of workers in the society.

PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari congratulated workers and vowed to not permit sacking of workers in the name of privatisation.

"The party will strive hard and harder for protecting the rights and privileges of the working classes and to expand them even further,” he said.

Punjab governor Malk Rafique Rajwana said that workers and employers were real social partners of the society. He congratulated the working class and expressed the commitment at the government end for protection of their rights and dignity at workplaces.

Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, in a statement, said labourers and workers played a key role in strengthening of national economy and targets of development cannot be achieved without prosperity, empowerment and due respect of the workers. He said the government was paying full attention to the welfare and uplifting of the workers.

He said thousands of youngsters were imparted training under the Skill Development Program of Punjab government. Besides, he added, 87,000 children of brick-kiln workers were enrolled in different government-sponsored schools for providing them free education. He said that establishment of quality educational institutions for the children of labourers besides social security hospitals and labour colonies are a proof of labour-friendly policies of Punjab government. “On this day, there is a need to renew the pledge that all out support would be extended for the welfare of labourers and protection of their rights,” he added.

PML-Q president Chaudhary Shujat Hussain has congratulated the working class for their long struggle for securing their rights and vowed to stand with them in their any future movement in this regard.

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq and Pakistan Awami Tehreek chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri in their separate statement said Islam has declared the labourer as a friend of God and as such acknowledged his dignity.

Expressing commitment for continuing struggle at his party end for the protection of labour rights in Pakistan, JI chief said role of labourers and workers was very important in the progress and development of the country.

Rallies and seminars have been planned by labour unions on the day and in this regard central rally will be taken out by All Pakistan Trade Union Federation from Hamdard Centre Litton Road to Mazang Chowk. APTUF leaders Sultan Khan, Aima Mahmood, Fazal Wahid, Nasir Mahmood, Salma Liaqat, lawyers and people from different walks of life will take part in the rally.

Wapda Hydro Electric Union, Lesco’s Paigham Union, Railways’ different unions are also taking out rallies from different spots and organising events to mark the day. The labour wings of PML-N, PPP, PTI and others are also organising events to commemorate the day. The People’s Party is organising a convention at Bastami Road which will be addressed by party’s central leaders including Chaudhary Aitzaz Ahsan, Qamar Zaman Kaira and others.

Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s Labour Wing organised a seminar yesterday to pay tribute to workers and highlight their problems in Pakistan. Sajid Bhatti, Arif Chaudhary, Noorullah Siddique, Fazal Wahid and other leaders addressed the seminar.

Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) Chairperson Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, in a statement in connection of Labour Day, said that only a short training course of three month could turn a unskilled labourer into a trained and skilled man who can earn more than three times. Skilled labour can play vital role in the socio-economic development of Pakistan, he said in his message for May Day.