Red tapism denying basic rights of Pakistani Seafarers

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By Nasir Mahmood

KARACHI: Government’s denial of basic human rights of Seafarers is now seriously affecting community overall, especially their bread and butter. Seafarers of Pakistan are suffering from red-tapism of bureaucracy and lack of interest by political leadership. In previous regime, Seafarers brought to notice of Minister of Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, Minister Ayub Afridi and Shireen Mazari, Minister of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development but to no avail.

Fact is that government is still denying ratification of an important labour convention (MLC-2006) while more than 100 counties of world have already signed during past fifteen years. Pakistani Maritime authorities are still working under older conventions due to which our Pakistani Seafarers community on foreign commercial ships is going through very hard times. They don’t get International Transport Workers’ Federation Agreements and timely visas for joining ships in international ports and basic salaries sometimes.

They put this complaint to so-called prime minister’s portal Imran Khan but matter remained unresolved. Its reply was. Respected Citizen, thank you for patience. Interim response of concerned wing of Ministry is attached for your information. Your complaint has been put to action therefore it is being temporarily closed in category of “Partial Relief Granted” due to time limitations of such complaints on this portal. However, action on same will continue and will be communicated to you accordingly by re-opening instant complaint upon its final conclusion. You are requested to wait till final response of this Ministry. Your cooperation in this regard shall be highly appreciated.

MLC-2006 convention is so important that it will help Pakistani seafarers to get their visas within 48 hours which will save their job contracts. Foreign shipping companies are also having many difficulties because of not having ITF Agreements for our seafarers. If Pakistan ratifies MLC-2006 Seafarer Unions should be established to sign ITF Agreements same as in India. As stated on ILO’s official website, “Pakistan has still not ratified MLC-2006”. Why you have not ratified this important convention so far? It is just like taking our bread and butter and leaving our rights to be misused, they asked repeatedly but red tape of bureaucracy has pushed this issue into cold storage.