Pakistán - Union leaders threatened with legal charges over protest

The Water and Power Development Authority lodged a complaint against the All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Central Labour Union (APWHECLU) on 9 May 2015 in response to an anti-privatisation rally held a few days earlier. The “First Information Report” (FIR) sent to the police cited 18 people – including the union’s leaders - for causing a nuisance. The report was registered under three sections of the Penal Code including Section 188 which prescribes a prison term of up to a month, a Rs6,000 fine or both for those arrested on charges of “defying an order promulgated by a civil servant”. The prison term may be extended to up to six months if disobedience of the order might cause harm to human life or health.
Osama Tariq, the APWHECLU’s assistant general secretary, who was among the 18 people named in the FIR, believed it was meant to discourage them activists from proceeding with their campaign against privatisation of power distribution companies, as it would be used to prevent them from holding demonstrations in the future.
The General Secretary of APWHECLU, Khurshid Ahmed, pointed out that all the union wanted was for the government to engage in dialogue and address the workers’ concerns regarding the privatisation proposal.

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