BLLF and FES pay tribute to SC’s historic bonded labour ban


“The Pakistan Bonded Labour Liberation Front (BLLF) in collaboration with Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) has organised a three-day photo and paintings exhibition at Islamabad’s Pakistan National Council of Art (PNCA) from 14th to 16th September. The exhibition on the life of the bonded labourer will pay tribute to Pakistan’s Supreme Court (SC) for its historic decision in which it prohibited bonded labour in 1988. The BLLF celebrates this day as its ‘freedom day’.
The exhibition includes marvelous paintings and photos made by professionals and volunteers belonging to different walks of life.
Beside civil society representatives, INGOs, NGOs print and electronic media, students and a large number of brick kiln workers visited the exhibition’s inauguration session. Chief Guest Federal Port and Shipping Minster Kamran Michael inaugurated the event.
Addressing the audience, Kamran admitted that the implementation of labour laws had been ignored in the past but he assured the listeners that his team was committed towards implementing the existing labour laws for the betterment of the laborers.
Moreover, Kamran said that workers were the backbone of the nation, adding that the government was taking steps for the implementation of its policies so that the bonded labour could be eliminated from Pakistan. He appreciated the BLL’s struggle and congratulated the event’s organisers.
Federal Overseas Pakistanis and HR Department Secretary Munir Qureshi thanked Kamran and the other distinguish guests and organisers for coming to and for arranging such an event. He assured the attendants that he would take personal interest in the issuance of EOBI cards to brick kiln workers. He said that his department was taking immense interest in facilitating labourers.
Pakistan FES Country Director Philipp Kauppert briefly explained the attendants about the structure and the key processes of the FES in Pakistan. He said that it was an honour for the FES to have worked with the BLLF and appreciated the sincerity of the latter for enhancing the rights of brick kiln workers. Moreover, he paid tribute to the SC for its historical judgment in August. He said that they had been working in Pakistan since the last 20 years, adding that they were focusing on child labour and bonded labour.
On this occasion, Pakistan ActionAid Country Director Paras Mani Tamang said that he was seeing positive developments in the drive for the elimination of bonded labour from Pakistan. “ActionAid is fortunate to have such a visionary partner (the BLLF), and we are committed towards jointly achieving wonderful results,” he added.
BLLF General Secretary Syeda Ghulam Fatima said that the BLLF was a civil society organisation struggling for the betterment of bonded/brick kiln labourers in a peaceful and proactive way. The BLLF facilitated and supported the government in fulfilling all international commitments, conventions and treaties regarding labor standards and human rights charters, she added.
She also talked about the Freedom Day Seminar at the Lahore Press Club on September 18.
BLLF Program Manager Mahar Safdar Ali said that the exhibition meant to highlight the working environment at brick kilns, the miserable condition of bonded laborers and the BLLF’s historical struggle.


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