Anwar Shaheed

Interview for the Oral Archives of the ILO Century Project by Zafar Shaheed

Anwar Shaheed started his career in 1940 with the (British) Indian civil service. He was assigned to the Labour Department in New Delhi, becoming a Research Officer in 1945. Two years later he joined the new Ministry of Labour of the new post-colonial nation-state of Pakistan. He became an Assistant Secretary of Labour in the Pakistani Government in 1949 and remained in this position until 1956 when he was recruited by the ILO, Geneva. During the first two years of his tenure, Mr Shaheed worked at the Women and Young Workers’ Division. Later he moved to the Labour Management Relations Division (1958−1961) and then to the Field Service Department where he served as Director from 1965 to 1967. He was Director of the ILO Liaison Office to the United Nations in New York from 1967 to 1970 and then became Director of the Technical Cooperation Department. In 1973 he moved to the Work and Life Conditions Department for one year, and completed his career between 1975 and 1978 as Director of the Sectoral Activities Department of the ILO.

BA and MA studies in Economics, Psychology and Philosophy, Lucknow University, (British) India.

Anwar Shaheed starts his story in the 1940s, when he joined the Labour Department of the British Indian Government and explains how his interest in human and labour rights coincided with his national work related to labour conditions and to the ILO. His interest in labour issues and social justice grew when he joined the Indian Labour Investigation Committee in 1943, motivating further his staunch belief in the rights of workers. As one of the first officers of the new Ministry of Labour of Pakistan, Anwar Shaheed sheds light on the process of ratification by Pakistan of ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize. He recalls how he was identified and recruited by the ILO and then details his work as an international civil servant who worked in a number of different departments of the Office, in increasingly senior positions. In particular, he sheds light on the growth of the field and technical cooperation activities of the ILO, as well as its relations with other parts of the United Nations family. Mr Shaheed also shares memories about influential and charismatic senior ILO officials such as Jef Rens, Abbas Amar and three of the former Director-Generals: David Morse, Wilfred Jenks and Francis Blanchard.

Key words
Andean Indian Program, Asian Regional Conference, C087 Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention 1948, ILO Conditions of Work and Life Department, ILO field and headquarter coordination, ILO Field Service Department, ILO Labour Management Relations Division, ILO New York Liaison Office, ILO Technical Assistance Board (i.e. the Special Fund), ILO Women and Young Workers’ Division, Indian Ministry of Labour, Labour Investigation Committee India, McKinsey management consulting, multi/bi, Pakistan Institute of Personnel Administration (PIPA), Sectoral Activities Department, University of Karachi.

Names mentioned
Amar, Abbas; Blanchard, Francis; Evans-Pritchard, Sir Edward Evan; Figueroa, Ana; Jones, Frank; Jones, Warwick; Morse, David; Myrddin-Evans, Sir Guildhaume; Narayanan, Palayil Pathazapurayil; Rens, Jef; Tata, Naval Hormusji; Wynne-Roberts, C.R.

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