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    Sunday, July 16, 2017

    Karachi labour landscape in flux, Joblessness in South punjab forced them to move Karachi

    The labour employed in the city’s industrial hubs shows a changing ethnic trend – the arrival of new workforce from South Punjab and interior Sindh replacing Pakhtuns and Punjabis in low-paying jobs.
    In Karachi, Seraiki speakers have taken over the rickshaw sector, thriving on the availability of low-cost CNG vehicles produced locally. The sector was once dominated by Pakhtuns, with the iconic blue Vespa-rickshaws offering cheap transportation.
    Talking to South Punjab News, traders and industrialists offered differing views regarding the change in the ethnic mix of labourers and workers in Karachi.
    City offers a growing role to migrant workers from Sindh and South Punjab
    Chairman Site Association of Industries Asad Nisar Barkhu­rdaria said three years ago 90 per cent of the industrial area workforce comprised of Pakhtuns, which has dropped to only 30pc today. He surmised that this is due to outmigration.
    The Site industrial area has more than 4,500 units and employees 500,000 people directly.
    Skilled and unskilled Seraiki speakers and Sindhis migrating from small cities and villages are filling the vacuum left by the exit of Pakhtuns and Punjabis in almost all sectors.
    The share of Seraiki and Sindhi speakers in Site hovers between 15-20pc while the remaining labour force is native to Karachi.
    Chairman Pakistan Fashion Apparel Forum Jawed Bilwani said 10 years ago, majority of the labourers in dyeing and finishing sectors hailed from Punjab but this has now fallen to 13pc.
    He said 34pc labourers are Pakhtuns, followed by 30pc Sindhis, 20pc Balochs and 20pc are Urdu-speakers.
    In the weaving sector, Punjabis were once dominant but now their share has dwindled to 20pc. The sector employees 60pc Pakhtuns as well as 10pc each of Sindhi and Urdu-speaking population.
    In the knitted garments sector, the job share of Seraikis is 45pc, followed by 35pc Sindhis. The remaining 20pc is a mix of various ethnicities.
    Mr Bilwani said in the woven garments sector, women comprise 50pc of the labour force most of whom belong to Karachi’s Urdu-speaking community. The share of Sindhis is 25pc while the remaining 25pc labour is of mixed ethnicities including Biharis, Bur­mese, Bengalis, Memon, Gujrati, Kachhi, etc.
    President North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry Akhtar Ismail said in the garments sector, around 60pc of the labour belongs to Karachi while the share of Punjabis is 30pc and 10pc share is held by Sindhis.
    The processing sector workforce is estimated to be 70pc Punjabis while Karachiites hold 30pc job share. In looms, 90pc labour hails from Punjab.
    He said the share of Sindhis in the textile sector is gradually rising.
    Chairman Pakistan Association of Parts and Accessories Manufacturers (Paapam), Mashood Ali Khan said for many years, 90pc labour (skilled and unskilled) in auto parts units in the city belonged to Karachi while 10pc are of various ethnicities.
    He forecasts more employment opportunities in the auto sector as four new vehicle assemblers are set to roll out various models in the coming years.
    He said Paapam is focusing on vocational training so that a new lot of youngsters would emerge rather than relying on old hands to shift from existing industries.
    Chairman Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD), Mohsin Sheikhani said currently the share of labour and workers hailing from upcountry is 80pc while the share of Karachiites is 20pc, down from 30-35pc four years ago.
    He said labourers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, interior Sindh and Punjab’s Seraiki belt are continuously arriving due to a boom in Karachi’s construction sector.
    Mr Sheikhani said around 600,000-700,000 labourers and workers are earning their bread and butter in Karachi where many apartments, housing and infrastructure development projects are under construction.
    Chairman All Karachi Tajir Itehad (AKTI), Atiq Mir said in more than 600,000 shops in the city, native Karachi residents hold 90pc of the share for more than two decades while the remaining 10 per cent are people from up country.
    Karachi is the only city where people from all over Pakistan arrive for work and enjoy cordial relations with Karachi walas, he said.
    Chairman sub-committee on labour and EOBI of F B Area Association of Trade and Industry Mohammad Irfan claimed the number of Punjabi and Bengali labourers in the city has gone down drastically.
    “Bengalis are moving back to Bangladesh as the textile sector there is thriving,” he added.
    He said in around 2,000 units in industrial area of FB Area, the share of Seraiki speakers is 5pc, followed by 45pc share of Karachi’s diverse population. Pakhtuns occupy 50pc of the labour force in the city.
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    Item Reviewed: Karachi labour landscape in flux, Joblessness in South punjab forced them to move Karachi Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Abdul Sattar Qamar