The Awami Workers Party (AWP) has slammed the government’s announcement of an ‘austerity package’ that will subject the working masses to even more hardship through increase in petrol and utility prices while leaving the rich and powerful segments of society -– including state functionaries –- free to accumulate wealth and pillage the natural environment.
AWP leader Aasim Sajjad has said that even as the IMF and other foreign creditors reinforce and anti-people economic system, the PTI government is completely turning Pakistan into a banana republic while other mainstream parties and the military/judicial establishments are in no way committed to ending the spiral of economic brutalisation and hateful politics. The ruling class as a whole remains committed to an unsustainable model of resource extraction and geopolitical rents to serve the interests of external patrons, whilst at the same time giving free license to speculative lobbies, contractors and patriarchs at all levels of society to profit from people’s misery and exploit nature without concern for future generations.
Alia Amirali said that all the rhetoric of ‘change’ and ‘Naya Pakistan’ has been totally exposed in the wake of various scandals about the role of Supreme Court judges and the military establishment in the 2018 general election as well as the bulldozing of more than 30 legislative bills in the national assembly last week, including one approving the use of EVMs. All initiatives taken by the present regime in the name of ending ‘corruption’ and undertaking ‘accountability’ are becoming a farce. The AWP believes that genuine accountability and substantive democracy is only possible when power is taken away from dominant institutions and propertied classes that control land, industry, and almost all other economic assets and given to the people of Pakistan so that all working masses are able to secure education, health, housing and decent livelihoods.
AWP president Yousuf Mustikha said the burden of class, state and imperialist power is being borne mostly by the ethnic peripheries, and most obviously in Balochistan where students are disappeared and great riches are secured by domestic and foreign elites at the expense of indigenous peoples, illustrated by the recent protests by fisherfolk in Gwadar. Meanwhile religion continues to be weaponized and free reign given to forces like the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan. The situation is dire even in metropolitan areas like Lahore where a sheer lack of vision and planning is generating environmental breakdown in the form of terrible smog.
The AWP leaders warned that there is no end in sight to the increase in prices of petroleum, basic amenities, and food as the government continues to pander to all IMF conditionality’s while relying on handouts from bilateral donors. Yet there is no respite for the masses, gas supply to households petering out even before the height of winter. The AWP has called for progressive forces to unite to hold the establishment, mainstream parties and the various economic mafias that are making the lives of the working masses miserable. In the absence of a genuine progressive alternative, Pakistan’s already conflict-ridden society and polity will spiral towards complete collapse.