Pakistani migrant workers in Greece have it tough. Not least in terms of living conditions. This week alone has seen regional authorities in the country’s North Eastern Aegean islands renew calls for Athens to take action against camp overcrowding. They want to see a ‘cull’ of at least 10,000 individuals transferred to the mainland by as early as next month. Yet the capital has its own problems; with migrants protesting the dire conditions at the Malakasa camp. To be sure, such challenges face all those who flee to Greece due to displacement or, else, in the hope of carving out a better life. Yet unskilled Pakistani workers appear to be particularly vulnerable to racially motivated attacks. Indeed, migrant workers account for 90 percent of agricultural labour; with the majority coming from this country. Most earn no more than 25 euros a day. Yet even then they are accused by locals of stealing their jobs. Though the scenario mirrors the dynamics that prevailed in western Europe during the 1990s; whereby established workforces would often stand aside to allow newly arrived labourers take menial jobs that were deemed demeaning and that paid below minimum wage. Police statistics show that the number of hate crimes motivated by skin colour, nationality and ethnicity tripled in 2017 as compared to the previous year. Though the phenomenon of targeted attacks is not a recent one. Indeed, the upward swing in violence reportedly coincided with the 2012 general elections that saw the neo-fascist party Golden Dawn enter Parliament for the first time. This was not simply a case of spreading hate by way of fearmongering. Two members of the party were found guilty of murdering Shahzad Luqman back in 2013. Golden Dawn currently holds 16 parliamentary seats. Yet there is some good to come out of all this. Namely, the way in which Pakistani migrant workers have learned to mobilise and build alliances with Greek leftist parties and other organisations. All under the stewardship of Javied Aslam, leader of the Pakistani Community of Greece and the Union of Immigrant Workers. Sadly, women are conspicuous by their absence in Aslam’s rallies. That being said, he is typically the first point of contact for those who have fallen victim to physical attack. He also impresses on all workers the importance of being documented while providing legal representation, too. That is to say nothing of liaising between employees and Pakistani businessmen to ensure the safeguarding of worker rights. All of which begs the question as to why such mobilisation cannot occur here in Pakistan across the board. This must be posed not only to those political set-ups already engaged in proletariat struggles but also to all mainstream parties. Especially given that here in this country endeavours towards these ends are even more complex. In terms of normalising women domestic workers; minorities; rural-urban migrant workers; the internally displaced; as well as Afghan refugees. After all, five years is but a small window in which to place these urgent issues at the centre of what must become the popular mandate. * Published in Daily Times, August 29th 2018.