Left unity a must to get out of current quagmire: AWP

AWP Federal Committee meeting held at Awami Basti on 29-30th January, 2022. Photos by Aunal Muntazir

ISLAMABAD, 1st February 2022: The Awami Workers Party (AWP) has slammed the PTI government and Pakistan’s ruling classes more generally for the most acute inflationary spiral in Pakistan’s recent history and the passing of the State Bank of Pakistan Bill which will intensify socio-political and economic crises in its 75 years history.

The manipulated manner in which ‘popular’ demands for a presidential system are emerging confirms the acute contradictions of the Establishment-centric system and must be resisted by democratic forces at all costs.

In a statement issued at the conclusion of the party’s two-day Federal Committee meeting in Islamabad, AWP general-secretary Akhtar Hussain, vice-president Abida Chaudhry, deputy general-secretary Ismat Shahjehan, AWP Sindh president Bakhshal Thalho, Punjab president Ammar Rashid, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa president Haider Zaman, Seraiki Waseb president Farhat Abbas and Organising secretary Javed Akhtar said that the country is being pushed to breakdown by the military, judicial, religious and corporate media, exemplified by the present government’s submission to neoliberal financial institutions and imperialist forces more generally, the costs of which are being borne by workers, peasants, youth, women and ethnic peripheries.

Others who also attended the meeting included, Sabauddin Saba, Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry, Gilgit-Baltistan leader Baba Jan, Jammu and Kashmir Chairman Nisar Shah, Dr Farzana Bari, Dr Asim Sajjad Akhtar, Hamza Virk, Shahab Khattak, Aliya Amirali, Shazia Khan, Shafique Almas, and Dilawar Abbas Siddiqui.

They said that the military establishment’s ‘success’ in securing so-called ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan is destroying the peace and wellbeing of working masses in Pashtun and Baloch border zones where incidents of targeted killing of political and social activists are on the rise in accordance with the re-emergence of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.

Meanwhile state functionaries continue to engage in grotesque practices like enforced disappearances with impunity.

The AWP leadership urged all progressive, democratic, secular, feminist and oppressed ethno-nationalist groups to unify to resist the rotten, outdated political-economic system that breeds inequalities, patriarchy and religious extremism and struggle to build a just, egalitarian society. In this regard, the AWP has proposed a united Left front platform for upcoming local body elections.

The recent passing of the SBP amendment bill in the Senate despite the opposition parties’ majority in the upper house confirms the fact that ‘electables’ rather than programmatic concerns shape mainstream parliamentary politics.

The major political parties, intellectuals and the corporate media are not ready nor capable of mobilizing the working masses for structural changes.

They said that the PTI government, like its predecessors, was pursuing the IMF agenda with impunity. Which is systematically depriving the people of their lands and resources; exacerbating widespread social crises that have led to an escalation in violence against the working class, women, religious minorities, and the most disadvantaged groups in society.

Religious extremists in particular are taking advantage of this situation to generate incendiary sentiments within the masses, and instead of venting their anger at the oppression, exploitation and economic hardships of the ruling class, turn their guns towards religious, ethnic and gender minorities.

Taliban rule in Afghanistan provides a glimpse of what could happen in Pakistan if a genuine progressive alternative is not fomented. Over 30 million Afghans are suffering from famine. People are forced to sell their belongings and children. International powers have left the hapless people there at the mercy of the fanatical Taliban government.

Immediate crises in Pakistan will spiral with time and increase the prospects of future dystopias for the youthful majority of Pakistan’s 230 million people.

In Lahore, the real estate mafia in collusion with state authorities has been coercing people to give up their lands through the Ravi Urban Development Authority, which is propagating an imaginary of ‘development’ that is totally destructive for the natural environment.

Similar processes of dispossession of locals and expropriation of minerals and water resources are afoot in Balochistan, Seraiki regions and Gilgit-Baltistan. On the one hand, the government is claiming to undertake afforestation, while on the other hand, it is engaged in large-scale deforestation, destruction of coastal deltas, and other environmentally destructive policies. All of this is often sanctified by superior courts.

The AWP calls attention to the resurgence of left-wing parties in Latin America, especially the election of Gabriel Boric, a former student leader in Chile. It is only by revitalizing the Pakistani Left that the national security state can be transformed into a people-friendly country where elected representatives like Ali Wazir lead the country rather than languish in jail for speaking truth to power.

The AWP’s decided to hold the third Federal Congress on 12-13 March, 2022 in Lahore. The party leadership will use the opportunity to gather wider progressive forces to try and develop a consensus for collective struggle against the establishment, mainstream parties, corporate lobbies and the religious right.