The International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF) is calling for the release of six Pakistan Power Loom union leaders who have been jailed on what it claims are "falsified charges."

"In July this year workers in Faisalabad were forced to go on strike to secure a 17% pay increase that was adopted by government but which employers refused to pay," says ITGLWF general secretary Klaus Priegnitz.

"Over 100,000 workers went on strike in Faisalabad and the surrounding areas. The employers responded by launching a brutal campaign of violence and intimidation seeking to silence workers and deny them their fundamental rights." Around 25 workers were injured and 100 arrested.

The campaign "has now culminated in a decision by the Anti Terrorism Court to sentence 6 trade union leaders from the Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM) to a total of 490 years in jail on falsified charges," Priegnitz added.

"The involvement of the police and the judiciary in this process shows that Pakistan's state agencies are actively working with employers to assist in the repression of fundamental human rights."

The ITGLWF now wants to see the immediate release of the union leaders and "respect for the right of workers to organise and bargain collectively."