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Pakistan: 3 Trade Unionists Released On Bail

Pakistan: 3 trade unionists released on bail from Jail

The ITUC has today expressed satisfaction at the release from jail of three trade union leaders and activists detained in Pakistan over two weeks ago in the wake of emergency rule imposed by President Pervez Musharaff.

Liaquat Ali Sahi (trade union leader at the State Bank of Pakistan), Ghulam Fareed Awan (Assistant General secretary of the All Pakistan Trade Union Federation - APTUF) and Ayub Qureshi (member of Pakistan Trade Union Federation - PTUF) have been released on bail on 23 November after 18 days in prison.

The 3 trade unionists were arrested on November 5 after their union joined other civil society organisations in calling for the immediate restoration of the rule law, the country's constitution and the fundamental rights of its people.

Although the ITUC is satisfied with the released of the 3 trade unionists, it will continue to monitor the situation closely as the charges against them are still pending. The ITUC wrote a protest letter right after the arrest on November 5 to urge the government to order the immediate release of all trade unionists detained and calling for all charges against them be withdrawn.

The ITUC reiterates its support for the legitimate struggle of trade unions in Pakistan, and their call for restoration of the rule of law, civil liberties and proper democratic process. The right to freedom of assembly, freedom of opinion and expression are essential for the normal exercise of trade union rights and the ITUC recalls that the arrest of trade unionists carrying out peaceful protests is a clear violation of international treaties on human rights and labour standards.

"All the charges against the 3 trade unionist have to be dropped" said Guy Ryder, ITUC General Secretary. "To secure fair elections in January 2008, Pakistan must fulfil its international obligations, in particular concerning freedom of association" he added.

The ITUC represents 168 million workers in 153 countries and territories and has 305 national affiliates.


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