MIRPUR (AJK)/ BAHAWALPUR/SAMBRIAL/ GUJRANWALA/SHEIKHUPURA - The International Workers' Day was observed across Punjab and AJK on Monday to pay tribute to the labourers who laid down their lives, fighting for their rights about 131 years ago in Chicago, the United States of America.

In this connection, seminars, rallies and processions were taken out to express solidarity with labourers and highlight their role in the development of society. The participants demanded fulfilment of basic necessities of labourers and their families. In AJK, rallies and processions were taken out in all 10 districts of the state to observe the workers' day in a befitting manner.

In Mirpur, various May Day processions were taken out from View Point near Quaid-e-Azam Stadium Chowk separately by Jammu and Kashmir Peoples National Party, PWD Workers Union, JK Plebiscite Front, JK Workers Party and other labour organisations. Participants raised slogans against inflation in the country including AJK.

Addressing the participants, speakers vowed to continue the mission of the martyrs of Chicago to protect rights, dignity and honour of the labourers. They also highlighted importance of the historic day.

In Bahawalpur, Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) took out a rally from Fowara Chowk to Bahawalpur Press Club. Labourers at Gulistan Textile Mills participated in the rally.

Addressing the rally, labourers' representatives Musa Saeed, Jaleem Mangla, Sadiq Channar, Adil Rao and Meraj Hashmi said that sacrifices rendered by labours of Chicago give impetus to labours of Pakistan to stand up for their rights. He claimed that the day is no far when the labourers in Pakistan will get the rights and privileges they deserve. They demanded end to contract system, adding labourers must be paid in accordance with officially-fixed minimum wages.

All Pakistan PWD Worker's Union also took out a rally which started from Provincial Buildings to Fareed Gate. The rally was led by the union Zonal Secretary Afzal Mehmood, Siraj Ahmed, Rana Iqbal and Abdus Subhan.

Addressing the rally, they urged the government to resolve the labourers' problems on priority basis.

In Sambrial, people from all walks of life celebrated the International Workers' Day with enthusiasm. A rally was organised by CBA Union of a sports factory at Sahowala-Sambrial. Hundreds of workers participated in the rally. They were wearing red strips on shoulders and heads. The rally was led by the union President Muhammad Ali Butt. Participants urged the government to take effective steps to end violations to labourers' rights.

On the other hand, labourers ignorant of May Day were witnessed working in fields, workshops, hotels, and construction sites.

In Gujranwala, Labour Day was observed to pay tribute to the workers fighting for their rights. Labour organisations across the district took out processions and rallies to highlight problems of the workers. The main rally was taken out from Sheranwala Bagh to Gondlanwala Chowk which was led by labour leaders Mian Attaur Rehman, Naseeruddin Humayun Malik and others.

Addressing the rally, speakers pledged to continue struggling for the rights of workers and keep playing their role in nation building. They demanded increase in daily wages of labourers.

Meanwhile, a group of traffic wardens under the leadership of Zahir Commando distributed flowers and awarded one day salaries to the workers. PPP leader Sagheer Butt distributed lunch boxes to workers of different factories to show solidarity with them.

In Sheikhupura, Labour Day was observed with enthusiasm. Labourers rook out rallies in different parts of the district to mark sacrifices of Chicago labourers. They urged the rulers to provide all basic facilities to the labour class of the country.

In Kasur, All Pakistan Trade Union Federation held a ceremony at Bulleh Shah Hall in connection with Labour Day.

Addressing the participants, speakers demanded regularisation of temporary workers, up-gradation of their scales, increase in minimum wages and provision of pensions to retired workers.