KARACHI / LAHORE / RAWALPINDI / PESHAWAR: Workers from the Geo-Jang Group, along with media organizations and journalists, part of civil society and trade unions, on Wednesday continued their four-month protests across the country demanding easing media freedom throughout the world . the country and to protest the persecution of the Group and Editor in Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman.
In Karachi, condemning the long and unjust arrest of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, tourist figure Yahya Polani demanded that the government immediately release him and stop his victimization by upholding the truth. Mir Shakil opposed strong government weapons tactics to conquer him to give up on independent editorial policy.
Polani spoke to the demonstration by the Jang-Geo Action Committee for the release of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. He said the chief editor was a resident of this country and would not run away from here while his family was a pioneer of journalism in the country.
Referring to the Supreme Court’s decision on NAB in the Khawaja Saad Rafiq case, he said the whole country was surprised to see how the National Accountability Bureau acted as a government tool to defame and blackmail people. Jang Karachi chief editor Mudasir Mirza said that the Jang-Geo Action Committee and the wider community would continue to protest until Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman was released. Others who spoke at the demonstration included the secretary general of the Dara Zafar News Employees Union and the secretary general of the Javed Rana Yusuf Employees Union.
Likewise in Peshawar, Jang Group workers called Rahman’s arrest illegal, unconstitutional, and attacks on independent media. Carrying banners and placards bearing slogans, the protesters demanded the government to release the owner of the country’s largest media group. Speaking on the occasion, senior journalists including Arshad Aziz Malik, Shakeel Farman Ali, Imdad Ali Qazalbash and others said media workers across the country were protesting the release of their Editor-in-Chief. They strongly criticized Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf and the National Accountability Bureau for arresting Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in a 34-year-old fake property case. Protesters likened the arrest to attacks on independent media. They said the authorities could not suppress the voice of the independent or opposition press through such tactics.
In Rawalpindi, Geo and Jang Group workers together with journalist organizations held a demonstration in front of the Jang building and appealed to the high court to protect Mir Shakil from miscarriage of justice inflicted on him in a false case.
The demonstration was attended by the Chair of the Joint Action Committee of Geo and Jang Group workers and the President of the United Trade Union Nasir Chisti, Chair of Editorial Committee Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid, Chief Reporter Jang Rawalpindi Rana Ghulam Qadir, RIUJ Secretary General Asif Ali Bhatti, PML-N leader Rawalpindi Imtiaz Taji, Muzaffar Bhatti, Munir Shah, Amjad Ali Abbassi, Malik Nusrat besides Jang and The News workers.
Responding to the protest, Chairman of the Geo and Jang Group Workers Joint Action Committee and United Jang Workers Union President Nasir Chisti said tyranny had replaced democracy in the country’s manifestation by suppressing independent press and forcing political and personal competitors. He said Rahman’s detention signaled government policy to silence the media’s free voice.
Chief Reporter Jang Rana Ghulam Qadir said NAB is being used as a tool for political engineering and media coercion and the Supreme Court’s historic ruling has recently proved that. PML-N leader Imtiaz Taji called on the Supreme Court to pay attention to the illegal arrest of Chief Editor of Geo and Jang Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman Group.
In Lahore, senior journalists, civil society leaders, administrators of the media union office and Jang Workers Union continued their protest on Friday over Rahman’s illegal and prolonged detention.
They regretted that those who claimed to make Pakistan a country like Medina had imprisoned Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman to be his victim even though there was no progress in investigating the 34-year-old property case.
Australian sliding contractors and wool producers worry about the lack of a national shaver with the closing of the COVID-19 border and travel restrictions, making it difficult for New Zealand shavers to enter the country.
Every August an incoming wave of 500 shearers from New Zealand arrives in Australia for spring shear – but not this year.
They handled at least seven million sheep for three months and returned to New Zealand for their own season in December.
Secretary of the Australian Shearing Contractors’ Association (SCAA) Jason Letchford said the lack of shadowing labor was a major concern for the industry.
“We are really in a desperate situation to get sheared sheep this year in the spring,” Ms Letchford said.
He said if the sheep were not shaved on time, the season would be extended, which would cause financial losses for producers and also pose a risk to animal welfare.
“If you don’t have good farming practices, you lose your assets,” he said.
SCAA is working with the Department of Agriculture, Home Affairs and the state government to find an agreement on New Zealand shavers coming to Australia.
Letchford believes a fast and appropriate solution is needed.
“I realize that the government is running a very narrow path between security and keeping the virus at stake, but there are jobs and commercial problems at stake,” he said.
“That can’t just be a holistic approach where we rotate taps in one area and that has unintended consequences in other industries.
“At this point an entry of $ 3,000 for quarantine and actually passing through an Australian port makes it look like no one can find it.”
Letchford said with the drought breaking out in many parts of Australia, the national sheep herd will only surge from 65 million heads now because farmers want to rebuild and maintain more stock and more shearers needed.
Craig Gilbert, who runs the Woolaway Contract Shearing in Naracoorte, South Australia, is concerned he might not be able to secure a full workforce if the agreement for NZ shavers entering Australia does not change.
His efforts bring half of his staff into the area as seasonal workers from abroad and abroad, but he may have to work with a framework workforce and ask farmers for more flexible sliding arrangements.
“We really don’t have the number of shavers in Australia to cover all of that to complete it within the time frame needed by farmers,” Gilbert said.
“It’s not just as you can say we will shave your sheep in December rather than October. Of course the season changes, and it gets a little hotter, animals can suffer from grass seeds, they can suffer flies, and it’s sad for animals that. “
He felt “somewhat frustrated” to see New Zealand shavers refusing to enter Australia and believed that the Department of Agriculture needed to improve and understand the importance of shavers coming from New Zealand, which is now a COVID-19 free country.
Letchford realized that many Australians were not working because of COVID-19 and were looking for work. Cutting is still a skilled trade that must be learned from time to time.
“We do welcome people in the industry but the reality is you will not be able to pick it up overnight, so we will not be able to train Virgin flight people to become shaves suddenly,” Letchford said. .
“People come to this industry and start working on their own and we will like it, and there is a lot of training available for that.”
However, he did not know of anyone from the industry affected by COVID-19 who tried to enter the shear and wool handling industry.
“It is frustrating that we cannot easily access workers in New Zealand.”
But it’s not just the Australian sliding warehouse that is short on staff.
The New Zealand industry is also worried about labor shortages for its peak season from November to March, when hair shavers from Australia and the UK usually flock to the country.
President of the New Zealand Slide Association Mark Barrowcliffe said the delay of their season was on the cards and despite talks with their Immigration Department there was an additional challenge to bringing shears overseas to the country.
“We want to do it faithfully for our employees and countries wherever they come or go.”
While the industry remains hopeful about their discussions with the Immigration Department, Mr Barrowcliffe said they also improved local goods to partially prevent a looming shortage.
However, with the situation of New Zealand shavers heading to Australia, he believes there is a ‘greater reluctance’ of workers due to the increasing cases of corona virus in Australia.
“We are a very family-oriented industry, so once you move from your current family, you cannot immediately return if something happens, and the family that comes first will definitely take care of some people at home,” he said.
The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment said in a statement given to ABC that Australia’s WoolProducers (WPA) and National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) had identified the need for more than 480 New Zealand shavers and seasonal shedhand for July. -November.
“The department recognizes that the wool industry has traditionally used mobile workers, including groups who have moved from New Zealand to Australia for most workers and that prolonged delays in shaving can cause serious problems with animal welfare, on commercial impacts for wool producers, “the statement said.
WPA and the NFF are seeking support for New Zealand shavers and homeowners to enter Australia using an exemption from the Australian Border Commissioner.
In the statement, the Department of Agriculture said, at this time when the Australian border was closed, the only way to get workers was for travelers to seek release from the Australian Border Commissioner based on workers who provided critical skills.
“In the end, this is the decision of the Australian Border Commissioner to approve or disapprove border liberation.”
The movement of workers between various countries is governed by the country’s health directives, the statement said.
“It is important that prospective workers and employers understand the requirements before they travel.”
“The feedback from the industry to the department is that the recent closure of the border, in general, is well managed and does not cause significant difficulties.”
Indonesia will conduct a labor exchange program with Australia to increase its human resources. The plan was announced by senior government officials just days after the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) entered into force.
Minister of Trade Agus Suparmanto said Indonesian workers in the fields of health care, telecommunications, transportation, tourism and other sectors were eligible to take part in the program and could obtain training and work experience for six months in Australia.
The government is targeting 100 Indonesian workers to take part in the program in the first year, while the number of participants is expected to gradually increase to 500 within five years.
“This is part of Indonesia’s benefits in developing human resources from joining the IA-CEPA, along with the opportunities for our workers’ abilities to be recognized by the Australian government and business,” he said in a video press conference on Friday.
In implementing the program, the government will partner with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), the Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo) and the Indonesia-Australia Business Council (IABC).
The IA-CEPA, which was ratified by the House of Representatives in February and entered into force on July 5, abolished trade tariffs between the two countries. With the trade pact, the Ministry of Trade hopes to increase exports of several Indonesian products to Australia, especially textiles, automotive products, electronics, fishery products and communication devices.
When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global trade, Indonesia’s exports fell 28.95 percent year-on-year (yoy) to US $ 10.53 billion in May. The country’s exports to Australia totaled $ 920 million in the January-May period, up 15.69 percent yoy.
Agus also said that, with the IA-CEPA agreement, Indonesia aims to cut the country’s export deficit to Australia in half by 2021 to around $ 1.5 billion from $ 3.2 billion last year.
Trade between the two countries totaled $ 7.8 billion in 2019, far lower than bilateral trade with Indonesia’s main trading partner, China, which reached $ 73 billion in the same year.
“We hope that we can achieve an export surplus in the future, but not this year, because the effect of the agreement is likely to be slow, because of the pandemic,” he said. “However, we are optimistic that we can see significant changes in 2021.”
The minister stated that the two countries had also agreed to increase the number of work holiday visas to 4,100 from initially 1,000. He expressed his hope that in the sixth year of the IA-CEPA, the quota for this type of visa would reach 5,000.
In addition, Indonesia and Australia have also decided to prioritize industrial partnerships in food agriculture and electric vehicles as well as technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the first year of the IA-CEPA, according to the trade minister.
Previously, secretary general of the Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers Association (Gaikindo) Kukuh Kumara said the Indonesian automotive industry might not immediately benefit from a trade agreement because it prioritized trade in electric vehicles (EV), which Indonesia had not yet produced. The Jokowi government has set a target to start producing EV in 2021 or 2022.
“We do not have products from specifications that Australian consumers need,” said Kukuh The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview on July 6.
The Indonesian car industry mostly produces multipurpose vehicles (MPVs) or sedans such as the Toyota Camry, while Australians prefer sports vehicles (SUVs), Kukuh added.
LAHORE: Mazdoor protests took place at Markaz Kot Lakhpat Mazdoor on Tuesday. The protest was attended by workers, political activists, students and women from various organizations. The aim is to speak out against attacks on the working class and to organize workers. These united fronts include the Awami Labor Party, the Federation of Pakistan Trade Unions, the National Trade Union Federation, Mazdoor Mahaz, the Women’s Democracy Front, Mehnatkash Tehreek, the Revolutionary Socialist Movement, Labor Democracy, Workers’ Democracy, National Student Federation, PRSF, and other organizations.
Protests took place in more than 30 cities throughout the country under the auspices of the Workers Solidarity Committee. Protesters in Lahore hold banners and placards with slogans against layoffs, not paying salaries, withholding pay and pensions. Demonstrators also shouted slogans against the boss and the government. Speaking to the participants, the speakers said that it was a labor-hostile government that gave more than Rs 1,500 billion to big bosses and capitalists in various forms. Prime Minister, all ministers and government institutions care about the big capitalists but not the workers, they said. Not to mention, the capitalists who benefit from the government’s aid package are also laying off workers. They demanded from the government to return all dismissed workers and pay their salaries in full by eliminating their salary deductions. In addition, they demanded ‘no pension cuts’. Instead of filling the pockets of the capitalists, the government must provide full pension to the workers, they demand.
They say that this demonstration is the beginning.
A press release issued by the Lahore Workers Solidarity Committee said that if the government and employers did not end the layoffs and pay workers’ cuts, they would hold mass protests and use every option. The government cannot let workers and their children starve and die while filling the pockets of super rich employers, they say.
Illegal structures: In a major operation against illegal construction, the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) destroyed and sealed several buildings and structures in the City here on Tuesday.
The operation was launched under the direction of LDA DG Ahmed Aziz Tarar, officials said adding the LDA DG had announced zero tolerance for illegal construction.
During the operation, the city planning wing team destroyed an illegal commercial plaza in the Huma Block flat and an open air restaurant in Johar Town E-Block while two illegal buildings one in 21-Rachna Block and the other in 83-Jehanzaib Block, Allama Iqbal City.
Another team reached the housing scheme approved by LDA, T&T Abpara and destroyed an illegal building that was built on the site of a public park while the road under construction, the sewage system and other structures of the illegal housing scheme Babar Homes and Zaheer Villas were destroyed. Illegal construction on the road was also demolished in Naz City.
Minority: Minister of Human Rights and Minority Affairs Ijaz Augustine summoned Punjab Chief Secretary Jawwad Rafique Malik at the camp office.
Director General of the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) Kamran Lashari was also present at the meeting. Provincial ministers on behalf of the minority thanked the Punjab government for providing security to churches, places of worship and health facilities for the treatment of the corona virus. He said that minorities in Pakistan enjoy equal protection and full religious freedom. The minority community ensures the implementation of SOPs issued by the government to contain the spread of the corona virus, he added. The Minister mentioned that work is being carried out to promote religious tourism in the province through the church. The Chief Secretary assured full cooperation from the Punjab government, saying that concrete steps had been taken for the welfare of the minority in the province. Kamran Lashari briefed the Chief Secretary and the Provincial Minister on the steps taken by WCLA to protect and restore historic sites.