AWP condemns violence against peaceful protesters

Calls for an end to privatisation drive, the release of trade union leaders, acceptance of their demands

The Awami Workers Party (AWP) leadership has condemned use of brutal police force against peaceful protesters in the federal capital and arrest of labour leaders on Wednesday.

The party is of the view that inflation has skyrocketed and over 12 million people have been rendered jobless by this hybrid government backed which is backed by the establishment that takes a huge chunk of public resources in the name of ‘national security’, thereby depriving working class and lower middle class of health, education, employment, housing and other basic needs.

On the contrary to this no increase has been made in the salaries of lower grade government employees for the last two years.

Consequently the government employees, pensioners, teachers and health workers exercised their democratic and constitutional rights to protest for their legitimate demands, the party leaders said.

The peaceful protest was organised by the All Government Employees Grand Alliance (AGEGA), All Pakistan Teachers Association, All Pakistan Clerks Association and Lady Health Workers Association.

Government employees and pensioners from Balochistan and Punjab were protesting against disparity in salaries and were demanding regularisation of contractual jobs.

The capital police fired massive tear gas shells, charged baton on the protesters resulting in many injuries. The police also arrested over 150 protesters and their leaders.

President Yousuf Mustikhan, General Secretary Akhtar Hussain, Punjab Secretary Abida Chaudhry, former Punjab President Dr Asim Sajjad, Federal Committee member Abdullah Safi, AWP Karachi president Shafi Sheikh and general secretary Khurram Ali in their statements condemned the violence against the peaceful protesters.

The party expresses solidarity with protesters and reiterate its support to their struggle against the anti-labour anti-people policies of the government implemented at the behest of the IMF and World Bank.

The party president called upon the government to release leaders of trade unions and All Government Employees Grand Alliance and accept their charter of demands immediately.

Mustikhan expressed grave concerns at the increasing incidents of violence and state oppression against working class, students, and the oppressed nations like Baloch, Pakhtuns, Sindhi, Kashmiris and people of Gilgit-Baltistan. This must be stopped and the leaders of AGEGA and MNA Ali Wazir must be released, the AWP president said.

Dr Aasim Sajjad Akhtar said the government has accumulated tens of billions of dollars in loans in record time, making a mockery of its promises to extricate Pakistan from the trap of foreign debt. It has been recently reported that every single one of Pakistan’s 225 million people is now indebted to the tune of Rs175,000.

He said it was the epitome of a militarized state. The capital police treated the peaceful protesters of government employees, teachers and health workers like an enemy.

“The hybrid regime can hide behind as much rhetoric as it wants, but it is slowly and surely digging its own grave,” he said.

AWP Karachi President Shafi Sheikh said that on the one hand the government has jacked the inflation up and on the other hand uses water cannons, tear gas and violence against those who demand increase in salaries.

AWP Karachi general secretary Khurram Ali questioned the rationale behind the government policy of extending relief to the capitalists and real estate barons during the Corona pandemic while slashing the salaries of the workers.

Similarly, in order to offset the loss of international capital during the crisis, the rulers of Pakistan have intensified the privatization drive on the dictates of IMF and benefited corporations by rendering their country’s workers jobless.

The AWP stressed the need for the unity of the oppressed class and people against this exploitative system.

Sadiq Hassani, Youth Secretary Awami Workers Party Balochistan also demanded the release of all arrested government employees and accept their demands. Order release and take action against the perpetrators. Otherwise, there will be demonstrations all over Pakistan.

AWP Rawalpindi-Islamabad strongly condemns the police brutality on

AWP demands an end to the brutality against workers, students, doctors and women. We demand an end to the austerity, inflation, unemployment, undemocratic tools to suppress rights of the people. We express solidarity with the protesting employees and endorse their demands.

The party criticized the suffocating anti-people economic policies of the government implemented at the behest of the IMF as well as bilateral donors due to which the country’s public assets were being sold to the highest bidder, tens of millions of working people have been pushed below poverty line, and natural resources are being pillaged with disastrous consequences for both present and future generations.

The party demanded an immediate ban on privatization, a moratorium on debt repayment, and strict accountability of all financial barons in the country as well as their foreign patrons, including the military establishment and serving ministers of the PTI government.