AWP demands an end to privatization, grabbing of land, islands and resources of Sindh

Participants of ‘Sindh Awami March’ protest against Islamabad’s move to take control of Sindh’s islands, sacking of over 4000 Steel Mills’ workers, grabbing of lands of indigenous people by real estate mafia, enforced disappearances, forced marriages of Hindu and Christian girls after conversion.

Sindh Awami march participants at Regal Chowk (round about) holding a banner inscribed with demands like reversal of PIDa presidential ordinance on islands of Sindh, privatisation of PSM, termination of employees and in support of land reforms. Photo: Muneeba

Press Release

Karachi: The Awami Workers Party (AWP) on Saturday called for an end to the privatization of public entities, stopping the rising unemployment and inflation, occupation of islands, lands and resources of Sindh and Balochistan by the federal government, enforced disappearances of political and social workers and the abolition of the feudal system, and implementing land reforms.

The rejected all anti-people, anti-fisherfolk and anti-Sindh policies and decisions of the federation.

The demands were made by political leaders, and social activists while addressing the participants of the ‘Sindh Awami March’ organized by the AWP Sindh in which a large number of workers, peasants, youth, women from all parts of Sindh including Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana, Sukkur, Ghotki and Sanghar participated along with the federal, provincial and city leaders of the party.

Local leaders and activists of the National Party, Awami Jamhoori Party, Jiya Sindh Mahaz, Communist Party of Pakistan, PPP Shaheed Bhutto, Lyari Awami Front, Indigenous Rights Alliance, Voice of Shia Missing Persons, Baloch Students Action Committee and Karachi Bachao Tehreek. And other organizations also participated.

The march, led by AWP Federal President Yousuf Mustikhan, Secretary-General Akhtar Hussain Advocate, party’s Sindh chapter President Bakhshal Thalho, general secretary Marvi Latifi, Vice-President Asar Imam and other leaders, started from Regal Chowk and culminated at Fawara Chowk, Tower.

The marchers also staged a sit-in in front of the Governor’s House, carrying red and white colour flags of the AWP, portraits and pictures of Karl Marx, Lenin, Ho Chi Minh and the noted Hari leader Haider Bux Jatoi as well as carrying banners inscribed with their demands. They were also raising slogans of freedom from poverty, unemployment, feudalism, injustices, religious extremism and patriarchy.

In the end, the marchers adopted various resolutions demanding the withdrawal of the Presidential Ordinance on occupation and development of the Sindh Islands (PIDA) which according to them is against Sindh, the fishermen and the environment.

They also demanded the government to stop the illegal expansion of the Defense Housing Authority (DHA) and Bahria Town and restore all the roads connecting the people of Kathur and Gadap with safeguarding all their rights on their land.

Another resolution called for curbing skyrocketing of inflation in the country, making the minimum wage equal to 10grams gold and ensuring its enforcement, and giving subsidy in daily food items.

The participants also demanded an end to the privatization of all public entities, including Pakistan Steel Mills, forced retrenchment of labourers and abolition of the contractual system.

They termed a ban on land reforms by the Federal Shariah Court unconstitutional and demanded to lift it; taking land from cantonments, retired military officers, capitalists, landlords and real estate mafia-like Malik Riaz.

They called for an end to the gender-based violence, discrimination and patriarchy and the repeal of the anti-woman laws. Student unions should be revived, fees should be waived until the Corona epidemic continues, students should be provided access to the Internet without discrimination, and efforts to create a national curriculum should be stopped.

Water should be released in Kotri downstream as per the agreement, rivers like Bangladesh and India should be given natural rights, and saved from dying. Under the 18th Amendment, the NFC Award should be implemented and nations should be given the right to self-determination. All problems of Karachi city should be solved immediately by eliminating faulty transport system and tanker mafia.

They also demanded that secularism be implemented to eradicate extremism in the country and promote secular thinking in the education system and media by removing extremist content from the curriculum.

Addressing the marchers, party federal president Yousaf Mustikhan said that the Establishment and the ruling elite had been enslaving Sindh, Balochistan, Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and other nations for seven decades by usurping their lands and resources.

“Sindh is not a fiefdom of any federal institution, it is not something to be sold by a real estate tycoon like Malik Riaz, it is not a bargaining chip for a feudal lord. Sindh belongs to the Sindhi people, it belongs to the workers, it belongs to the farmers, it belongs to the salaried working people,” he exerted.

“We will not allow the federal government to occupy the islands of Sindh, nor will we allow the Bahria Town and DHA to occupy the lands of Malir and Kathor”, he warned.

He said that AWP will no more tolerate the seven decades colonization of Sindh. We are no longer ready to be kept slaves.

 He demanded the federal government to immediately withdraw the presidential ordinance and stop the provincial government, Malik Riaz and DHA from occupying indigenous lands otherwise the public resist.

AWP Federal Secretary-General Akhtar Hussain Advocate in his speech said that today due to the anti-people policies of the rulers, inflation is skyrocketing and unemployment is on the rise. In the last two years, 120 million people have lost their jobs and recently more than 4,000 workers have been laid off from the Steel Mills.

He demanded an end to the privatization of all public entities including PSM and the forced retrenchment of workers and abolish the contractual system.

He also said that the ban on land reform by the Federal Shariah Court was unconstitutional and should be lifted.

At the same time, 25 acres of agriculture land and 50 acres of rainfed land should be distributed among the landless farmers of Sindh by taking lands from cantonments, retired military officers, capitalists and landlords like Malik Riaz.

AWP Sindh President Dr Bakhshal Thalho said that the Federal government’s occupation and development of Sindh islands through a presidential ordinance (PIDA) is not only a decision detrimental to Sindh’s rights but will also cause irreparable damage to fishermen’s employment and the environment.

“The people of Sindh vehemently reject this decision and demand its reversal and ask the federal and provincial governments to refrain from making a profit from it”, he warned.

Mr Bakhshal further said that the enforced disappearances of Sindh’s political and social activists is tantamount to treating Sindh as an occupied territory. If this process is not stopped immediately and the missing prisoners are not recovered, public outrage and movement will be launched in Sindh.

In his speech, AWP Sindh Secretary General Marvi Latifi said that through patriarchal, capitalist and religious fanaticism, the working people, in general, and working women, in particular, have been enslaved and terrorized.

She demanded that the growing crimes against women, especially religious minorities, abductions, forced marriages, conversions, sexual violence and discrimination be stopped and that they be protected and the perpetrators severely punished.

Addressing the marchers, Khurram Ali, general secretary of the AWP Karachi and convener of the Karachi Bachao Tehreek, said the problems in Karachi and other cities in Sindh were similar and interconnected and held feudal remnants and state institutions responsible for them.

All the resources of the province have been seized and the people are forced to live under a barrage of problems.

He also said that taking advantage of the ethnic differences between the salaried classes of Sindh, the feudal lords and their cronies have divided the peasants and workers of Sindh from each other and prevented the movement of the oppressed classes.

He said that the purpose of this march in Karachi was to make the residents realize that being the largest capital city of Sindh, it had become the voice of all the oppressed classes of Sindh against the federal hegemonic and monopolistic as well as the elite class of feudal remnants and capitalists in the province. Let’s recognize these enemies and join the revolutionary forces.

AWP Karachi President Shafie Sheikh said that the country was being enslaved by these powers on the agenda of IMF and World Bank. History has shown that in times of economic crisis, the government opens the door to jobs for the people by taking control of the economic process to support the economy, but the ruling class parties of Pakistan, feudal lords and capitalist auction off important public organisations. They have been snatching jobs from the people and pushing inflation up.

Abdul Khaliq Junejo of Sindh National Front, Iqbal Khan of Communist Party of Pakistan, Taj Murri of National Party, Lal Muhammad Chandio, Asghar Dashti, President of Lyari Awami Front Issa Baloch, General Secretary Abdul Khaliq Zadran, Akhtar Bahadur, Engineer Rashid Baloch, Mangal Maheshwari, Narumal, Saeed Baloch, Khuda Bakhsh Baloch also addressed the marchers.

Resolutions were read out at the end of the march and the Laal Hartal theatre group presented a play interspersed with slogans.

Awami Workers party Sindh