Transnational corporations eying change in Pakistani policies: SEARCH Struggling to exploit land, water and cheap labour to mint money

KARACHI: Transnational corporations (TNCs) are pressing Pakistan government to private national organizations, land, water and food sources in pretext of making investments.

“World Bank, IMF, Asian Development Bank and other multinational companies, particularly belonging to the US, are building pressure on the government to launch mass privatization. They want change in government policies as per their will for investment, which is against human rights and law of land,” claimed Executive Director SEARCH Pakistan Waheed Jamali in a statement.

He said: “This practice is going on in other developing countries and is likely to also flourish in Pakistan. It will affect agriculture farming, water sources and several other sectors of life, he said. He asked Pakistani nation to be aware of TNCs bids, particularly their labour and investment policies.”

Jamali said that the bottled business is an example of such practices which have deprived local people of even clean drinking water. The water is being sold to corporations, while people are struggling for drinking water in Karachi and other mega cities. The people in deserted and barren areas have been compelled to drink contaminated water that causes diseases among them, he said.

He said that transnational corporations represent at least 75% of the world’s economy in present day and are out to control incomes in developing countries including Pakistan.

He said: “These organizations support cultural activities in Pakistan in a bid to develop great influence on the population. Apart from supporting culture in Pakistan, Transnational Corporations in Pakistan also violates human rights by providing inhuman working conditions and promoting child labour.”

He said Colombia has long been the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists with almost 4,000 murdered in the past 15 years.

“Many corporations are complicit in violating human rights and the environment. As the free trade market continues to push forward the global economy, holding corporations accountable for their poor practices becomes difficult. Unfortunately, corporations are working harder than ever to cover abuses instead of preventing them.”

He said reports on human rights violations by corporations operating globally raise concerns about the effectiveness of existing oversight measures. Financial groups that speculate in the oil market and large private corporations that control the grain market are responsible for the global food and oil crises, he said.

He said most global trade is controlled by a few hundred corporations. Many of these mega-corporations are economically larger than some nations and thus it is difficult for developing countries to regulate them. Since the United State is home to many of the world’s largest TNCs.

Referring to a report, Jamali said the world’s largest oil companies – Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon, ConocoPhillips and British Petroleum – have close ties to the bottled water industry. “The oil companies supply the bottled water industry with oil-based plastics that release large amounts of toxic pollutants during production. Bottled water companies claim that their products are healthy and clean, but the connection between the oil and water industry reveals the negative environmental impact of bottled water,” he said mentioning the report.

He said that the US and European corporations in China were trying to block a new law that would improve the working conditions of workers as well as increase their power and protection. Despite China’s economic growth, most Chinese workers live on the edge of poverty, earning very little and working in appalling conditions, Jamali pointed out.

He said the time has come to unite the hundreds of struggles, campaigns, networks, movements and organizations that are combating the different ways transnational corporations are appropriating our destinies, natural heritage and rights in every corner of the planet.

“Neoliberal globalization has opened the doors for the savage exploitation of the world by the big economic powers. They have gradually taken over our lives and the planet by creating a blanket of impunity through the dismantling and systematic violation of laws and the signing of international trade and investment agreements, which award investors more rights than citizens. As a result, peoples’ rights have been systematically violated, the Earth and its resources destroyed.”

He said the governance and policies of the multilateral institutions (IMF, WB, and the WTO) have long served corporate interests. In most countries, governments are at the service of corporate interests and against us.

“Pakistan government should adopt a positive approach and take immediate actions to stop labour laws violation by TNCs besides dismissing their pressures aimed at using country resources like water and land for booming their business,” SEARCH chief concluded.

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