Yesterday we received the amazing news that comrade Amar Fayaz has been released, with security agencies dropping him at his village.
Amar’s release was made possible through the immense and successful international campaign organised by students, youth, and workers from all around the world. We will update our supporters as we get more details on Amar’s release.
We thank all our supporters for their immense efforts. These include campaigning, signing and sharing our petition, and performing various solidarity actions for the release of Amar Fayaz.
Amar Fayaz was abducted by the state security agencies on 8 November 2020 at around 1:30am. Men in two security services vehicles, along with three police cars, abducted Amar in the city of Jamshoro in the Sindh Province of Pakistan.
Until his release, his whereabouts were not known by his friends and family, including his wife and a daughter.
Successful international campaign
Immediately, the Pakistan Trade Union Solidarity Campaign initiated an international solidarity campaign called #ReleaseAmarFayaz.
We launched an online petition, for which we managed to get over 12,200 signatures from 50 countries. This is our biggest petition so far.
This is thanks to our supporters, who in addition to the signing, shared the petition to their friends, families and contacts, resulting in the high number of signatories. Pakistani authorities and embassies were made aware of the numbers of signatures from various countries.
Supporters also organised protests in front of Pakistan high commissions, embassies and consulates in various countries.
In many countries, COVID-19 lockdowns meant restrictions on outdoor gatherings. However, in a few countries with looser restrictions, supporters organised peaceful (and safe) protests outside Pakistani embassies to demand the release of Amar Fayaz.
Supporters chanted slogans, held banners and placards, and presented letters to the embassy. On several occasions, peaceful protesters were harassed by the embassy staff and local security officials.
For example, a day of action was organised in Canada, where supporters initiated a massive campaign of protests in front of Pakistan missions in Canada in Toronto, Vancouver, Ontario and Montreal, alongside sending letters and emails to Pakistani officials and getting representation in the mainstream media.
Our supporters also gathered the support of their local members of parliament and trade union leaders for Amar Fayaz’s release.
In Canada, for example, a process was triggered to present a motion in the Canadian Parliament, sponsored by Niki Ashton MP.
In Sweden, an independent Socialist MP, Amineh Kakabaveh, signed a protest letter to the Pakistan Embassy and several Left Party MPs were in the process of sending letters to Pakistan.
In Germany, we gained the support of Tobias Pflüger, a Die Linke MP of the Bundestag, who wrote to the Pakistani embassy in Berlin in his capacity as Chairman of the German-South Asia Parliamentary Friendship Group.
And major trade union leaders sent letters of support and demanded Amar’s release, including: CUPE Canada; Amalgamate Transit Union Canada; UNIFOR Canadian Freelance Union; Workers United Canada Council; Independent Workers MPs from Chile; the provincial deputy of Santa Fe Argentina; the Argentinian Socialist Workers Party; CGIL Trade Union Confederation Italy; and the Socialist Workers’ Union (ACOD-CGSP) in Belgium.
Solidarity efforts in Britain
In the UK, the campaign gained support from several MPs, including left Labour MP Apsana Begum, who wrote to the Pakistani High Commissioner in London. In addition, an Early Day Motion was presented in Parliament, sponsored by several MPs, including Apsana Begum, John McDonnell, Ian Lavery, Ian Byrne, Dan Carden, Zahra Sultana, and Jeremy Corbyn.
On 3 December, Socialist Appeal supporters and students from the Marxist Student Federation demonstrated outside the Pakistan High Commission in London. Comrades made speeches highlighting the brutal oppression of Marxists in Pakistan who dare challenge the corruption of the capitalist class.
A petition of over 4,000 signatures and a letter demanding Fayaz’s release and information of his whereabouts was handed to the High Commission.
Although officials claimed to not know about his disappearance – despite them being contacted and informed by British MPs – activists were able to gain a signature from officials confirming they would assist in our efforts to find and release Amar Fayaz.
In November, Amar Fayaz was abducted by state authorities in Pakistan.— Apsana Begum MP (@ApsanaBegumMP) January 3, 2021
He was campaigning for free education, full employment & the restoration of student unions.
Today, he was released.
Unwavering campaign and international solidarity will win for democratic and human rights. pic.twitter.com/JfOeBQBcGb
A victory for international solidarity!
This is just a short report of the international solidarity campaign for Amar Fayaz’s release. Thousands of our supporters and comrades showed their immense support through signing the petition; regularly posting pictures and appeals on social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok; writing to Pakistani authorities, and making appearances in the media.
Amar Fayaz’s release is a great victory for our campaign, which shows that – when it comes to oppressing students and workers – an injury to one is an injury to all. Only through a united and joint international struggle are able to successfully resist all attacks on youth and workers by the forces of oppression.
The Pakistan Trade Union Solidarity Campaign will continue to raise its voice against all brutalities against students and workers in Pakistan and around the world. We will continue to work with our network of supporters and comrades in our campaigns towards this goal.
Through your support, we will keep our international campaigns alive and win further victories to defend workers and youth!
Click here to donate to the Pakistan Trade Unions Solidarity Campaign