LAHORE – Over 200 delegates of country’s leading labour unions, workers’ federations and confederations have announced to resist the government move to privatise public utilities and departments.

This announcement was made in ‘Anti-privatization Conference’ organised at a Taj Mahal hall on Ferozepur Road. The leaders of unions vowed to take a united stand against PML-N government’s proposed move to sell the power sector, Railways, Pakistan Steel, PIA, banks, utility stores and other profitable institutions on the ‘direction of World Bank and IMF.’

Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan organized the conference that was attended by leaders of opposition parties, Pakistan Trade Union Federation, National Labour Federation, Muttahida Labour Federation, Pakistan Progressive Federation, Wapda Employees Union, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Muslim Commercial Bank Staff Union, Balochistan Irrigation Employees Union, Pakistan Steel Labour Union, Karachi Shipyard Pakistan, Jeay Sindh Labour Federation, Pakistan Coal Mines Labour Union, Telecom Workers’ Union and different Railways unions.

The holding of this moot is of great significance. Labour leaders of conservative unions mostly backed by the JI for the first time came together on one platform with the representatives of the unions have purely socialist background. The union leaders said they would forget their minor differences in the larger interest to “save the country’s vital public departments and launch a united movement if the government privatized any of the public utility or department.”

Jamaat-e-Islami is likely to soon launch a countrywide movement against the government privatization policy. It earlier organized an anti-privatization conference in federal cabinet. A JI leader said that in first phase these kinds of conferences would be organized in all provinces and then a massive anti-privatization movement would be started to push back the government from its agenda.

“All unions will jointly launch movement if the government tried to privatize any department,” said the union leaders in their speeches.

They said that the privatization of 68 public utilities and departments was on PML-N government’s agenda.

“Sharifs want to sell profitable institutions to their friends. We will not let it happen,” they said.

JI chief Sirajul Haq presiding over the event impressed upon the unions to forget the “old politics of left and right and to unite on the basis of right and wrong.”

He said the rulers make decisions about the poor and middle class public while chairing meetings in five star hotels. “Masses must come out of their homes and resist the capitalists and feudal lords to save the future of coming generations,” Haq said.