Political expediencies delaying smooth devolution: Raza Rabbani

Karachi: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani has said that after the approval of the eighteenth amendments some problems are still there, adding political expediencies are hindering the smooth devolution of powers fully to the provinces.

Addressing a national convention of Home-based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) here Sunday, he said we are still facing some problems regarding the complete devolution after the passage of the 18th amendment. However, he clarified that the devolution process was not amongst these hindrances, rather there are political expediencies that need to be dealt with. H said a Senate functional committee on devolution under the chairmanship of Senator Hasil Bizenjo is working to sort out these issues. He said he had suggested that the institutes like Workers Welfare Fund and Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) instead of transferring to the provinces should be made autonomous bodies with ownership of four provinces and the federation, but it was turned down.

He regretted that workers and women in Pakistan have been facing immense problems. He said the privatization model has already failed in world, but the elite class on the behest of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) is still supporting this failed experiment in Pakistan. He said when the Karachi Eclectic Supply Company (KESC) was being privatized he had strongly opposed it and termed it not in the interest of Karachiites, but they did not followed his advice and privatize the KESC; now whole Karachi is facing the consequences of this harmful privatization.

He said IMF and WB have their own vested interests and they are not in line with the national interests of Pakistan. He said a country could not be called a sovereign state unless it is fully independent and sovereign in the economic sector. He said the countries begging loans from the IMF and WB could not qualify to be called as sovereign countries.

Mian Raza Rabbani said the elite class of Pakistan does not want that the workers of this country are given their due rights. He reminded that Pakistani workers are the backbone of this country and real defenders of democracy. He said the capitalists have no roots in Pakistan and they would leave the country when it faced any danger; however, the working class would remain here and defend the country and its democracy.

He said it was a worrisome development that the trade union movement in Pakistan is becoming weaker with every passing day. He said to fight the privatization it needs strong trade unions in our industries and organizations so that they could bravely resist the conspiracy of privatization in Pakistan. He said the strength of trade union movement is necessary for the strength of Pakistan. He said it is direly needed that workers should also sit in parliament to defend their interests and rights. He said he and Saeed Ghani had already tabled a bill for special seats for labours in parliament. He said after becoming the chairman of senate he had withdrawn his name from the bill; however, Senator Saeed Ghani is still behind this bill and Inshallah soon it would be passed. He assured the moot that the policy and bill for home-based workers pending with the Sindh chief minister for approval of the provincial cabinet would soon be moved ahead and in this regard he would personally talk with Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah.

Faisal Edhi from the Edhi Foundation said the women in Pakistan have been facing immense problems. He said many women workers regularly face domestic violence and his foundation is dealing with such cases almost every day. He said the NGOs working in the name of women rights begin their work in their air-conditioned drawing rooms and offices and this work also ends in air-conditioned drawing rooms and offices. He suggested that working women of Pakistan should form their own organization to fight the menace of domestic violence on women.

Zahra Khan of HBWWF, Rafiq Baloch and Nasir Mansoor from National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and others also spoke.

A large number of labour leaders and home-based women workers were present on the occasion.