A brief tribute
organizing home based women workers till last
Four LEF leaders died in road accident
Najma Khanum, Rehana Kausar and Abdul Salam Salam along
with their driver Wahid Baluch lost their lives in a tragic traffic
incident at Omara in Baluchistan on 13 December evening. Their car
trying to save a donkey turned upside down that came suddenly on the
main road. Comrade Abdul Salam was seriously injured, while going to
hospital, the ambulance got stuck at a place where there was a overflow
of water in a stream that has blocked the road. He spent whole night at
the place as there was no way out; he died in the morning at a hospital
on 14 December. While, Mohammed Rafiq Baluch
president National Trade Union Federation, received minor injuries
during the accident is out of danger. The driver Mohammed Wahid Baluch
was younger brother of Mohammed Rafiq Baluch.
All five were returning from a consultation meeting at
Gwadar on the issue of organizing home based women workers. The meeting
was organized by Labour Education Foundation and 31 trade unions, social
activists and government labour official participated in the day long
consultation on government home based workers national policy document.
Earlier, the five attend two other meetings of home based workers in
Pasni and Gawadar to discuss the expansion of Home Based Women Workers
Association, an organization that was set up few months back in
Najma Khanum joined Labour Education Foundation in 2003
and was one of the senior staff members at Karachi LEF office. She was
elected counselor from Gadap Town Karachi and a known social activist.
She had participated actively in lawyer’s movement and was part of the
rally on 12 May 2020 that came under fire from MQM goons. She narrowly
escaped at the time. Najma Khanum joined Labour Party Pakistan in 2007
and took part actively in all the demonstrations and rallies of LPP in
Karachi. She travelled extensively in Sind to organize the work of LEF
and also the political work of LPP. Najma Khanum was part of the
delegation from Pakistan which attended the People SAARC Sri lanka in
Rehana Kausar (26), a young women activist joined LEF in
2007 and later became member of LPP as well. A fine orator, she was very
active in the formation of home based women workers in the province.
Comrade Abdul Salam Salam was former secretary of Labor
Party Pakistan Karachi chapter. He recently voluntarily paved the way
for a younger comrade Mukhtiar Raho to be elected as secretary LPP in
Karachi. Comrade Salam was member of editorial board of Weekly Mazdoor
Jeddojuhd and was a leading trade unionist at a textile factory. He
recently won his reinstatement at the factory by an order of a labour
court after few years of fighting for his reinstatement. He joined LEF
as a union organizer and was instrumental in helping many trade unions
in training and registrations. He was running a literary website in
Comrade Wahid Baluch was younger brother of Rafique
Baluch, the main leader of one of the radical trade union federation of
Pakistan, the National Trade Union Federation. He was always there to
help his elder brother by driving him around the province.
All the four dead had a dream of building a strong union
for the home based women workers. They had already held a very
successful convention with over 500 women at Hyderabad to start the Home
Based Women Workers Association last month. They were travelling in
several cities and towns to organize this most unorganized sector.
LEF and LPP lost their four of their best comrades in
Sindh. The three had made LEF and LPP work in Karachi and Sindh as a
main priority of their lives. The working class in Pakistan is poorer
now without these four untiring crusaders of their class. They all
believed in a Socialist society free of exploitation and for free
education and health facilities.
They all lost their lives to safe the live of one animal,
a donkey. The very poor infrastructure of the roads in Baluchistan means
accidents like this very often. Comrade Salam lost his lives waiting on
the road side for the whole night where his ambulance was stuck because
of over flow of a stream. He was also a victim of very poor
I have met all of them many times. Comrade Salam was the
intellectual backbone of LPP and LEF in Sindh, while Najma Khanum and
Rehana Kausar were tireless activists for women and workers rights.
Najma Khanum was particularly known in her community for social work and
political education. She was always ready to talk politics and
activities to promote politics and workers rights.
Red solute to comrades who are no more with us now.
By: Farooq Tariq