Hotel Workers Occupation in Karachi being Blacked Out by Media Gurus! Is this press freedom? – By Riaz Ahmed

It has been 9 days that over 150 workers at Pearl Continental Hotel Karachi are protesting against the sacking of 4 union and over 98 other workers. In protest they have occupied the basement of the 5-star hotel for the last 9 days and despite police raids and bullying and threats by security guards they have not left the site of occupation. This is a historic protest by workers in Karachi, the largest industrial city, where workers movement is generally luke-warm in manners. Occupation by a large number of workers at a prime site means that they have been pushed against the wall.

However the media in Karachi are pretty quiet about the situation. The PC management, chaired by the 5th richest person in Pakistan Mr Hashwani, has managed to keep the media silent, the police raids and arrests of male and female workers and their manhandling all have been hushed-up.

The only media which is reporting about the strike is the stinking right-wing press named Daily Ummat. The entire liberal, pro-democracy, pro-human rights English and otherwise ‘fighting for freedom of media and democracy’ press have managed not to report the protests, arrests and the occupation of PC workers in Karachi.

Today, March 04, 2010, Express TV crew came to cover the protest at the 2nd site of the protest ie the camp in front of PC and interviewed and filmed many agitators. Reportedly their entire story was killed by one Director named Fahd Hussain for no obvious reason. The only reason is ‘its is not allowed’.

PC hotel workers share a very tiny fraction of the billions earned by the Hashwani group. Since 2001 about 250 sacked workers have been protesting but their is no response. Now a new layer of sacked workers and those showing solidarity with them have been targeted by the rich management. It is time media wakes-up and express its neutrality about the protest.



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