People’s Unity in tatters as one faction mulls quitting PPP

KARACHI – Differences among various factions of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-backed People’s Unity of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Employees have reached a breaking point, with one of the factions mulling whether to quit the mother party altogether, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The People’s Unity is currently divided into two main factions: one is led by Kamran Chaudhry and the other by Syed Ahmer Ali alias Amir Shah. Chaudhry’s group is the one that led protests against former PIA Managing Director (MD) Captain Ejaz Haroon. Shah’s faction not only enjoys the patronage of Senator Faisal Raza Abidi, but also has the support of the PPP Youth Wing-Karachi that is also led by Shah.
Matters were already tense because Shah’s faction had “occupied” the Collective Bargaining Authority (CBA) office on August 27, 2010, that was being used by the Kamran Chaudhry group. Protests against former PIA MD Captain Ejaz Haroon fuelled the conflict, as Shah’s supporters assaulted Chaudhry’s group during their demonstrations at the airport.
“There is a lot of pressure on us from our workers to quit the PPP because of the Amir Shah group,” People’s Unity-Kamran Chaudhry (PUKC) Organizing-Secretary Sheikh Majeed told Pakistan Today. “During the fourth day of our protest, the Amir Shah group attacked the protest of our joint action committee; 30 of our members were injured and 25 were arrested.
The very same night, however, all arrested workers were released by the police and CBA office was sealed after negotiations with the government,” Majeed said. “The attitude and behaviour of the Amir Shah Group, and the treatment meted out to us with the backing of Senator Faisal Raza Abidi, have meant that our differences have become irreconcilable. We are now awaiting our party’s decision, and following that, the union will decide whether or not to remain part of the PPP,” Majeed said.
Representatives of the PUKC had taken their complaints to Ruksana Bangash, political secretary to President Asif Ali Zardari, and demanded that the party leadership take action against Syed Ahmar Ali and Senator Faisal Raza Abidi. “Our position was that Ali and Abidi are providing our rivals with illegal support of the President House,” Majeed said, alleging that armed workers of the PPP Youth Wing occupied the CBA office on the instructions of their president, since Abidi and Ali had decided to “hijack” their struggle.
“We have been working for the PPP and the People’s Unity of PIA Employees since 1988. Even today, Kamran Chaudhry is struggling to get legal recognition for our union, but the Amir Shah Group is trying to highjack our struggle with the support of Senator Abidi. Our supporters and workers are feeling ashamed of being associated with the PPP because of Amir Shah,” he said.
Majeed narrated that in 1986, when they had started their struggle, their union was called the Union of PIA Employees. On the request of slain PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto, the union changed its name to People’s Unity of PIA Employees and formally joined the fold of the PPP. The PUKC official alleged that the Amir Shah group was the remnant of Capt. Ejaz Haroon. “Capt Haroon had initiated a plan to divide People’s Unity, ad even after he has been removed, Amir Shah is carrying on with his mission,” he said.
People’s Unity- Amir Shah (PUAS) Secretary-Information Amir Dar refuted all charges, claiming instead that the Kamran Chaudhry group was not even registered with the National Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC). “We are the legitimate and approved People’s Unity of PIA Employees,” Dar told Pakistan Today.
Dar alleged that Chaudhry and the rest of the leadership of his union were not eligible to be members of People’s Unity because they were already retired. “Amir Shah has all legal documents from the NIRC, but they don’t have a single affidavit to prove their legality,” he said. Dar claimed that Chaudhry and his band have remained absent from the CBA office since August 27, 2010 and till the time it was sealed. “The CBA office is temporary sealed but we still have the keys,” he said.
Dar alleged that Chaudhry’s group have “always acted against workers’ interests,” explaining that the recent protests were part of a larger chain of events. “In 2008, when 5,000 daily wagers of PIA were going to be confirmed, Chaudhry objected to the PIA MD’s legality. The same trick was repeated in 2010, when President Zardari had announced the confirmation of 3,200 daily wagers. This matter will be resolved soon by President Zardari, and we’ll get control over the CBA office soon,” he said.



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4 Comments

  1. Zubair Shah KHI said:

    how can amir shah run CBA if he is not a permamnent emoployee
    One should realize that he is an outsider imposed on us.

  2. Kamran Lasharo said:

    He made his card in the list of Daily wages employees and will get himself confirmed afterwards he will again get control of CBA. Hundreds of proofs available in market that he has taken money to enroll people, all of them are acting like PIMPS of PIA, selling it. I fear this organization will shut down if such people remian its leaders.

  3. Noman Ali said:

    Hi Kamran Lasharo you are blaming Amir Shah who sacriced his life for the sake of PIA

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