Lahore, 20th October, 2019: The Awami Workers Party voices concern at the fast deteriorating socio-economic and political situation in the country, increasing intrusion of the establishment in political and other matters, rising violence against women and children, continued enforced disappearances in Balochistan, Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh.
“The future for Pakistan’s working class, minorities, women and the youth is very bleak due to the anti-people policies of the neoliberal agenda of the imperialist financial institutions,” the AWP said in a communique issued after a two-day meeting of the Federal Executive Committee at Lahore on Saturday.
The FEC deliberated upon various important issues pertaining to the party organization, current political, and economic crises, as well as international and regional conflicts.
The communique said the ruling class contradictions have sharpened; the economic crisis has worsened pushing more people below the poverty line. The government has totally withdrawn from its responsibilities of providing basic facilities to the people. The PTI government’s flawed economic policy is total submission to the neoliberal economic agenda of the imperialist powers and their financial institutions which will have disastrous consequences for Pakistan, said the communique.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been rendered jobless and millions have been pushed below the poverty line, inflation has touched new highs of 12% and economic growth has gone down to 2.4% due to decline in Pakistani currency rate and increase in interest rate compounding the chronic problem of balance of payment and debt.
The increase in interest rates, cut in development expenditures, especially the education and health budgets, and devaluation of the exchange rate, will further aggravate unemployment and poverty situation and push the prices of essential commodities up.
The present government has totally failed to deliver on its election promises and the economy is on the verge of collapse. To divert the attention of the people from real issues the establishment is backing religious extremist elements to bring a superficial change to maintain the status quo.
The AWP supports any democratic movement and protest that could lead to disempowerment and disengagement of the establishment from political and economic affairs. However the party will not take part in any protest march or dharna, particularly initiated by the religious right that could give a cushion to the crumbling exploitative economic system, it said.
“We are in favour of a broad-based movement that could bring about fundamental changes in the status quo. For this, we call upon all progressive, secular and democratic forces to get united on minimum agenda to change the economic policies and governance imposed by the imperialist institutions.
The party also expresses concern at the rising incidents of violence against and sexual abuse of women, and children as well as increase in suicide cases.
“Patriarchal extremism originating from security politics, rising unemployment, shrinking space for dissenting voices, and restrictions on cultural activities and freedom of expression, religious extremism, the proliferation of firearms in society are some of the factors behind rising violence against children and women and transgender community,” the communique said.
The party affirms its support to the progressive feminist movements including the Women Democratic Front in their struggle against patriarchy and for women’s emancipation.
The communique also expressed concern at the continued state repression and enforced disappearances in Balochistan, Sindh; violence against Hindu minorities and forced conversions and marriages in Sindh, harassment of girl students in Balochistan University and violence against Baloch, Pakhtun and Kashmiri students at the Punjab University by a religious student organization.
The loot and plunder of natural resources in Balochistan, Sindh, and Gilgit-Baltistan and ex-FATA region has deepened the sense of deprivation and political unrest among the people in these regions. The party demanded an end to the military operation in Balochistan, ex-Fata regions, and recovery of hundreds of missing persons.
The party also expressed concern over rising state repression against people of Gilgit-Baltistan and harassment of progressive and nationalist and social media activists. The party demands the GB government to free AWP leader Baba Jan and 12 other youth activists stop harassing activists and remove their names from Anti-Terrorism Act’s schedule-4 list.
The communique expressed concern at the escalation of tension between Pakistan and India and brutal use of force against Kashmiri people by Indian forces. AWP reaffirms its principled stance on right to self-determination of all nations of the world, including right to secessions.
The party expresses solidarity with the democratic parties and forces of Afghanistan and appreciated the change of government through democratic means despite deals with the Taliban and violence.
The communique called for increased interaction and cooperation between leftist and progressive forces to counter imperialist designs in the region.
The party condemns the invasion of the Kurdish region in Syria by Turkish forces and the killing of the civilian population and the revolutionary Kurds. The party condemns Pakistan’s governments to support Turkish terrorist acts and demands an immediate end to Turkish attacks on Kurds. We express solidarity with the Kurds and all oppressed people.
The party decided to prepare a document on the current situation and offer an alternative narrative and programme for structural change in politics and economy and play a leading role in uniting leftwing, progressive and secular forces.
The party will launch a mass campaign to expose the IMF-prescribed economic plan and the anti-people policies of the government which has completely mortgaged Pakistan with the IMF by imposing taxes on salaried class and increasing tariffs of gas, electricity and basic commodities, cutting education budget and privatizing public health services and hospitals.