Pakistan: Workers' leader killed in suicide attack

By Farooq Tariq

October 21, 2009 -- A prominent labour leader Master Khudad Khan was killed in suicide attack in Peshawar on October 15. He was on his way to a meeting and was passing by an intelligence centre when a religious fanatic blew himself up killing him and several others on the spot.

The unfortunate side of this episode is that the body of Master Khudad has not handed over to his relatives. A picture of the dead bodies printed in a local paper confirmed to the relatives on October 18 that Master Khudad was among the victims.He had been missing from home since October 15 and they had no clue of his whereabouts.

Master Khudad was the deputy general secretary of Pakistan Workers Confederation and a founding member of Bonded Labour Liberation Front. The Pakistan Workers Confederation is the main body of trade unions in Pakistan.

Master Khudad was elected provincial information secretary of Labour Party Pakistan at its founding congress held on November 21, 2004, in the North West Frontier Province. He remained a committed member of LPP until his death.

I had not had many meetings with him but when he accepted our invitation to join the LPP and took active part in mobilising the membership for the two-day founding congress of the LPP in 2004, I had a chance to have discussions with him in detail. He agreed to be part of the LPP leadership.

Master Khudad's main contribution to the working-class movement in Pakistan has been his role in establishing Bonded Labour Liberation Front. He helped many to flee from the chains of slavery.

Farooq Ahmad, a member national executive committee LPP, in collaboration of others is launching a campaign to recover his body.

This is the second main leader of LPP who has lost his life in a suicide attack. Earlier Abdullah Qureshi, a senior leader of LPP, was killed in December 2007 in Matta.

Here is a part of press report by the Daily News on September 2007.

Grave concern voiced over growing child labour

September 9, 2007

By our correspondent

PESHAWAR: Expressing grave concern over growing child labour in the country, speakers at a workshop here on Saturday said that weak implementation of the relevant laws, besides poverty and lack of education, were the root causes of this social menace and called for joint efforts by all stake holders to eliminate this curse.

The day-long workshop on ``Activating Media in Combating Worst Forms of Child Labour in Pakistan'' was arranged by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for the capacity-building of print media personnel...

Master Khudadad mentioned that surgical instruments, mining, manufacturing, glass bangles, tanneries, coal mines, rag pickers scavengers, deep-sea fishing, child domestic workers, child trafficking, carpet weaving, street children, bonded-labour and beggary were the worst forms of child labour in Pakistan.