1. GUMM
  2. Annus Horibilis
  3. The Inhumanity of Pakistan’s Coal Industry
  4. Iran Nuclear Deal The U.S Withdrawal
  5. Method in the Madness
  6. Legal System Reforms
  7. Power Over Impulse
  8. Refugees and Migrants are People too
  9. PTCL – A Nonstop Journey Towards Excellence
  10. Gulgee – The Last of The Greats
  11. Patrik Hoffmann – Sonraj
  12. Pakistan’s Primordial Hindu Heritage
  13. Pakistan’s Migrant Tragedy
  14. PTCL – Fastest Growing Brand in Pakistan
  15. Keep Pakistan’s Wagon Hitched To The China Star
  16. Anique’s Chocolate Cake
  17. Selfless & Fearless – Lahore Qalandars
  18. NEWS PICKS
  19. Intellectual Property and Tourism
  20. Fitness with the Mughal
  21. REBEL WITH A CAUSE
  22. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-1)
  23. Mummy’s Recipes Roast Chicken & Veg
  24. ENGAGING HEADS HEARTS AND HANDS
  25. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-2)
  26. Q & A with Star of Parchi
  27. Addressing Sexual Abuse
  28. Q & A with EMAN ZAEEM & MEHR SAAD
  29. Pakistan’s Lost Children
  30. ENGLAND AND THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
  31. STICK WITH FRIENDS AND DITCH THE ENEMIES
  32. The Phenomenon that Stephen Hawking was!
  33. In Conversation with ANUSHAY ZEESHAN
  34. Q & A with owner of District 6 – Anum Rafat
  35. Ali Rehman Khan – Naturally A Star
  36. MUNIBA`S Call for Tolerance & Justice
  37. Q&A Muniba Mazari
  38. Health Quotient (Dental health)
  39. Money for nothing, bits for free
  40. FinTech
  41. TRADING THREATS OF WAR
  42. Crisis of Civilization
  43. Child Sexual Abuse
  44. Education is the only Solution
  45. Fit for Purpose
  46. BLUE CHIP TALKS TO THE CREATOR OF TEETOO AND TANIA
  47. Mini meringue recipe
  48. NEW ANIMATED TV SERIES PAKISTANI
  49. Changing the Perception of Public Transport Motorway Express
  50. AUSTENISTAN DEBUTS WITH ELEGANCE AND ENTHUSIASM
  51. PAKISTAN’S WOMEN OF 2017
  52. THE BEAUTY IN BUSINESS
  53. PERCEPTIONS ARE ALSO REALITY
  54. Blue Chip Q/A with Atiqa Odho
  55. Five major political events of 2017
  56. WHAT DOES TRUMP’S TWEET MEAN FOR CPEC AND THE REGION
  57. THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IN 2017
  58. AFGHANISTAN GOING DOWNHILL
  59. 2017 FOR PSX – THE CLIMB AND THE DECLINE
  60. What we can learn from Ghalib
  61. QUINOA SALAD WITH THAI DRESSING
Wed, Aug 15, 2018
  1. GUMM
  2. Annus Horibilis
  3. The Inhumanity of Pakistan’s Coal Industry
  4. Iran Nuclear Deal The U.S Withdrawal
  5. Method in the Madness
  6. Legal System Reforms
  7. Power Over Impulse
  8. Refugees and Migrants are People too
  9. PTCL – A Nonstop Journey Towards Excellence
  10. Gulgee – The Last of The Greats
  11. Patrik Hoffmann – Sonraj
  12. Pakistan’s Primordial Hindu Heritage
  13. Pakistan’s Migrant Tragedy
  14. PTCL – Fastest Growing Brand in Pakistan
  15. Keep Pakistan’s Wagon Hitched To The China Star
  16. Anique’s Chocolate Cake
  17. Selfless & Fearless – Lahore Qalandars
  18. NEWS PICKS
  19. Intellectual Property and Tourism
  20. Fitness with the Mughal
  21. REBEL WITH A CAUSE
  22. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-1)
  23. Mummy’s Recipes Roast Chicken & Veg
  24. ENGAGING HEADS HEARTS AND HANDS
  25. The Big Fat Lie – Cholesterol (Part-2)
  26. Q & A with Star of Parchi
  27. Addressing Sexual Abuse
  28. Q & A with EMAN ZAEEM & MEHR SAAD
  29. Pakistan’s Lost Children
  30. ENGLAND AND THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
  31. STICK WITH FRIENDS AND DITCH THE ENEMIES
  32. The Phenomenon that Stephen Hawking was!
  33. In Conversation with ANUSHAY ZEESHAN
  34. Q & A with owner of District 6 – Anum Rafat
  35. Ali Rehman Khan – Naturally A Star
  36. MUNIBA`S Call for Tolerance & Justice
  37. Q&A Muniba Mazari
  38. Health Quotient (Dental health)
  39. Money for nothing, bits for free
  40. FinTech
  41. TRADING THREATS OF WAR
  42. Crisis of Civilization
  43. Child Sexual Abuse
  44. Education is the only Solution
  45. Fit for Purpose
  46. BLUE CHIP TALKS TO THE CREATOR OF TEETOO AND TANIA
  47. Mini meringue recipe
  48. NEW ANIMATED TV SERIES PAKISTANI
  49. Changing the Perception of Public Transport Motorway Express
  50. AUSTENISTAN DEBUTS WITH ELEGANCE AND ENTHUSIASM
  51. PAKISTAN’S WOMEN OF 2017
  52. THE BEAUTY IN BUSINESS
  53. PERCEPTIONS ARE ALSO REALITY
  54. Blue Chip Q/A with Atiqa Odho
  55. Five major political events of 2017
  56. WHAT DOES TRUMP’S TWEET MEAN FOR CPEC AND THE REGION
  57. THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IN 2017
  58. AFGHANISTAN GOING DOWNHILL
  59. 2017 FOR PSX – THE CLIMB AND THE DECLINE
  60. What we can learn from Ghalib
  61. QUINOA SALAD WITH THAI DRESSING

The recent demonstration held by the Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation (PCMLF) in Quetta in the aftermath of two almost simultaneous coal mine explosions, which resulted in 23 fatalities, serves as a rallying call for justice for Pakistan’s coal miners.

This disaster caught international attention in what is widely viewed as a deeply exploitative industry. The coal industry has come under intense scrutiny, not only for its devastating effect on the environment, but also for the human degradation suffered by miners.

Amid the squalid working conditions in Pakistan’s coal mines, it is estimated that between 100 and 200 workers die in mine related accidents every year. Pakistan’s lucrative mining industry remains lightly regulated with authorities having little access to coal mining sites, several of which remain unregistered.

While Pakistan’s coal reserves are widely perceived as a panacea to the country’s acute energy crisis, the miners who extract this energy resource are treated with a contemptuous indifference. According to the Pakistan Standard of Living Measurement survey, coal miners earn less than the minimum wage per month. The prevalence of occupational diseases, particularly respiratory illnesses, remains high in an industry where workers are routinely exposed to deadly toxins.

Pakistan has laws to ensure the safety and welfare of workers engaged in mining and quarrying. These include the Mines Act 1923, the Mines Maternity Benefits Act 1941, the Coal Mines (Fixation of Rates and Wages) Ordinance 1960 and the Excise Duty on Mineral (Labour) Welfare Act 1967. If anything, the utter uselessness of these laws reinforces a disappointing reality: that all too often laws exist not only to protect the powerful but to legitimise the abject condition of the powerless.

In many ways the plight of the Balochistan coal miners stands as a metaphor for the wider suffering faced by the 13 million people of the province. Resource-rich Balochistan remains the poorest province of the country, with its people deprived of the most basic amenities

In many ways the plight of the Balochistan coal miners stands as a metaphor for the wider suffering faced by the 13 million people of the province. Resource-rich Balochistan remains the poorest province of the country, with its people deprived of the most basic amenities.

With its abundance of natural resources and proximity to Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia, Balochistan’s strategic importance has assumed even greater focus with the development of its port at Gwadar. In spite of this, people remain mired in poverty in a province where despotic feudal power structures continue to hold sway. As a result of Balochistan’s routine neglect on both provincial and federal levels, separatist sentiment has struck a responsive chord within parts of the province.

Like so many other big industries in Pakistan, the coal industry’s abiding inability to ensure basic safety measures for its workers highlights how the country remains woefully lagging in human rights, social development and governance. On a broader level, the lack of reform in the face of such recurring tragedies casts a dark shadow over a deeply unequal society which remains inured to the suffering of the labour workforce that plays a critical role in turning the wheels of industry.

The depredations suffered by Balochistan’s miners may be forgotten tomorrow, but in the absence of accountability and reform, perhaps it’s only a matter of time until the voices of the invisible and marginalised galvanise into a more powerful expression of social revolt.

 

By Mashaal Gauhar

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