Public rally in Karachi against price hike

Protesters describe recent Mini-Budget as Economic Terrorism against the masses

Participants of rally chanted slogans against IMF; declare observing March 8 as the Day against ‘Salaried Slavery and Gender-Based Discrimination’


A public rally against price hike on Sunday demanded of the government to take drastic measures to break out of the deadly debt trap of international lenders and salvage the sinking economy.

National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) Pakistan, Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) Pakistan and youth organization Alternate arranged a joint Awami rally against the price hike that marched from the Fuwara Chowk to the Karachi Press Club (KPC). It was led by Riaz Abbasi of NTUF, Comrade Zehra Khan of HBWWF and Aqib Hussain of Alternate.

A large number of workers, youths, women and representatives of political and human rights organizations attended the rally, carrying banners and placards inscribed with their demands. They raised slogans against the slavery of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Among those who addressed the rally were Nasir Mansoor of National Trade Union Federation, Karamat Ali of National Labor Council, Asad Butt of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Saeed Baloch of Fisher Fork Forum, Manzoor Razi of Railway Workers Union, Comrade Wahid Baloch, Sajjad Zaheer of Anjuman-e-Taraki Pasand Musannafeen, Aneesa Yusuf, Parveen Bano, Nazra Bano of Home Based Women Workers Federation, Zahida Parveen of United HB workers Union, Iqbal and Barkat Ali of Alternative and others.

Addressing the rally, speakers said the ruling classes instead of cut in their own perks have opted for an economic terrorism against the masses in the name of mini-budget. They said all ruling parties and the parties that have kept mum over tormenting the poor masses are partners in these anti-people crimes. They said it is the need of hour that the poor masses should distance themselves from these political parties and organize themselves on new political lines to cope with the situation. They should promote their own political leadership to steer the country out of economic crisis. To break free of the slavery of the IMF, all absent landlord holdings should be abolished and this land should be distributed amongst the landless peasants free of cost.

They demanded fifty percent cut in defense and administrative expenses. All edibles should be provided to citizens at reduced rates. All citizens should be given social security cover and old age pension. Bilateral relations and trade ties should be promoted with the neighboring countries.

They said the 75 years history of Pakistan shows that the vested interests of the ruling elite have made the masses slaves of the powerful lending institutions and capitalist countries. International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other international lending entities are playing the role of a new East India Company to maintain the killer grip of the capitalist countries over hapless Pakistanis. The local rulers have been playing the role of their agents and hatching conspiracies against their own people.

They said the ruling elite comprising feudal lords, capitalists, military generals, judges and bureaucracy are sucking the blood of poor masses. They said as per the annual report of the UNDP every year 17 billion dollars’ subsidies are being given to the Pakistani elite from the annual budget, while Rs.1.5 trillion are earmarked for the defense expenses and more than Rs1 trillion for luxuries of ministers, officers and their families in the name of administrative expenses. They said if the non-development expenses of defense and federal administration are slashed it would greatly help in freeing the poor masses from the clutches of poverty and hunger.

Karachi-Price-Hike-Rally-Sindh-Courier-1They said that the current economic crisis in Pakistan is the direct result of government corruption and anti-people policies that have resulted in about 60 percent cut in the real income of the masses during last five years. The rates of medicines have been increased by 300 percent, petroleum products by 100 percent and edibles especially wheat flour 200 percent. The bills of electricity and gas have gone beyond the reach of the masses. Rising rates of education, healthcare and public transport have broken the back of the poor people. They said the present mini-budget have virtually buried the poor masses alive. People are facing immense problems in getting two square meals, while the ministers and advisors are getting more and more benefits.

The speakers said that the ruling classes are the least concerned about the plights of the poor Pakistanis. As the masses are politically disorganized they are being burdened with more inflation and price hike. Rise in general sales tax, tariffs of electricity and gas and ending subsidies on daily use items have opened the floodgates of inflation and price hike. During the last four years, additional two 20 million people have already been pushed down the poverty line, while due to the anti-people economic policies it is feared that two 20 million more people would go beneath the poverty line. Due to the wrong economic policies not only the agricultural sector has been destroyed but the wheel of industry has also been slowed down, creating massive joblessness. As per an estimate due to the current economic crisis more than one million workers would be rendered jobless.

The protest rally demanded that the recent anti-people mini-budget should be withdrawn. Fifty percent cut should be made in the defense and administrative expenses. All perks including plots should be withdrawn from military and civil officers, judges and ministers. Government lands should be distributed amongst the landless Haris. Direct taxes should be slapped on the rich classes. Subsidies should be given on edibles and basic needs of life. Minimum wage should be fixed at Rs50000 per month.  Social security and old age pension should be given to all citizens. Friendly and bilateral relations should be established to all neighbors. The culprits of Baloch women’s murder should be taken to the task. All missing person including the Baloch women should be recovered and the criminals involved in these crimes should be jailed.

The rally announced that the day of March 8, International Women’s Day, this year would be observed as the day against the salaried slavery and gender-based discrimination. (PR)





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