Lahore, 02 March 2014 – The Awami Workers Party held its first Women’s Convention on Sunday to unveil the party’s policy on the emancipation and status of Women in the country. The convention which had workers and delegates from all over Pakistan was a landmark event for the party which was founded in November 2012. The convention is seen as curtain raiser to the first congress party which will be held 29th and 30th March.
The unveiled document said that in the context of the Pakistan state and economic structure the status of women had always been neglected. The position of the party is that to bring structural change in the country, the role and status of women is paramount. This is why it’s an inherent question the party’s politics and structuring. The party’s slogan was ‘equality is a right not a concession’.
It was decided that thirty-three percent representations of females would occur in every unit and committee. Further, the decision was made for the revival of the women’s liberation movement in Pakistan and policies to place the woman question at the forefront of the left in Pakistan.
Dr Farzana Bari, AWP federal committee, said that this convention would be the beginning of widespread struggle to emancipate and change the status of women country. She said that in the context of the raging extremism, the party’s position on this issue would address that.
Further, AWP president Abid Hassan Minto said that working-class and peasant must rise up against feudalism, capitalism and tribal customs. He demanded an end of all discriminatory laws against women and said that political movement led by working class women would ensure the implementation on the laws that guarantee women rights.
The document that was presented during the day demanded constitutional guarantee for equal and minimum wage for working class women plus an end to bonded and contract labor. The demand is for equal opportunities for women in all spheres of life.
The convention also demanded two years leave for pregnant women in the workplace with full benefits and wages. One year leave with full wages for the birth of a female’s second child. Also, it was demanded that child birth is the right of a woman and free medical facilities during pregnancy and free nurseries for working women.
The document also demanded an end to discriminatory laws, forced marriages, ban on divorce by word of mouth, state protection for personal freedom, state responsibility for education, health, jobs and housing. It demanded an enforcement of ban on tribal and feudal traditions of jirga, sawara, vinni, karo-kari, and aurag.
After the convention, rally was held on charring cross which was addressed by AWP General Secretary Farooq Tariq, who said that women are suffering the most by the rise of religious fundamentalism and its status-quo nexus with the state. He said that the negotiations were being used as political ploy to distract the masses. He said AWP demands the separation of religion from state affairs.
Awami Workers Party